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Twins Closer Throws Bullpen Session at Comercia Park

Minnesota Twins closer Jhoan Durán is working his way back from a strained oblique. Do-Hyoung Park reported that Durán threw a bullpen session Friday at Comerica Park. While the conditions were less than ideal for Durán, he got in some groundwork in the rain. This marks the first time that he’s thrown a bullpen session since he was diagnosed with a Grade 2 right oblique strain in mid-March. He figures to require another bullpen session or two before facing hitters and eventually a rehab assignment. If all goes well for Durán, he has a chance to return to the roster at the end of the month.

Jhoan Durán Throws Bullpen Session

The Twins have several relievers other than Durán who are on the injured list. Caleb Thielbar and Justin Topa are among the pitchers who are out to begin the season. None of these injuries are expected to be long-term absences despite Minnesota acquiring right-hander Michael Tonkin from the New York Mets on Tuesday. But losing someone like Durán for a short while is painful for the Twins. The flamethrower is one of baseball’s premier relievers. Since making his debut on Opening Day 2022, Durán owns a 2.15 ERA with 35 saves in 130 innings. That also includes 19 holds, a 33.2 percent strikeout rate with a 7.9 percent walk clip and a massive 63.4 percent ground-ball rate.

Twins Bullpen Hasn’t Face Issues

With Durán and Thielbar still out, the Twins have a strong relief crop to work with. Minnesota’s bullpen holds the lowest ERA in the majors at 1.35. They also hold the highest strikeout rate with 52 in 40 innings. Finally, Kody Funderburk, Jorge Alcala, Brock Stewart, Griffin Jax and Steven Okert have combined to pitch 3 1/3 scoreless innings during the Twins 3-2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.  Even though Tonkin pitched four innings with the Mets, he spent the majority of the 2023 season in the Atlanta Braves bullpen. He worked with a 4.28 ERA while striking out 23.1 percent of batters and walking them at a 7.1 percent rate in 80 innings of relief. Tonkin originally split a one-year deal with the Mets, which calls for a $1 million base salary.

The Twins will owe him the prorated portion of that sum for any time spent on the big league roster. He’s out of minor league options so he can’t be sent to the minors without going through waivers first.

Main Photo: © Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports


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