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Twins promote hard-throwing reliever, DFA Homer Bailey; Jake Odorizzi making progress

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
Sep 22, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Homer Bailey (15) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins made a surprise move on Friday, selecting the contract of hard-throwing righthander Edwar Colina and designating starter Homer Bailey for release or assignment. The decision comes with three games left in the regular season and five days before the Twins open their first-round playoff series.
The Twins will add Colina to the bullpen, just as they called up hard-throwing prospect Brusdar Graterol last September and then kept him on the roster for the American League Division Series against the Yankees.
“We’ve talked a lot about Colina throughout the year, he’s a very exciting young arm,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s the kind of guy that has the stuff that can potentially be dominant in a shorter-stint type of role. We have an excellent group in our bullpen, so we probably have these innings covered for a period of time. But you want to use all your bullets and he’s certainly a guy that can miss a ton of bats and has great stuff. Get him activated, get him out here in a game or two and then kind of evaluate at that point what we’re looking at.”
The 23-year-old Colina was at the Twins’ alternate training site in St. Paul. He pitched at three levels last season, including Single-A Fort Myers, Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Rochester, going 8-2 with a 2.96 ERA with 32 walks and 102 strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP in 19 games and 14 starts. Colina was signed by the Twins in September 2015 and is 19-15 with a 2.80 ERA in 66 games over four seasons.
Colina’s season was slowed by the fact he tested positive for COVID-19 in early July. Asked about the fact that he was hitting 103 miles per hour with some of his pitches in St. Paul, Colina said: “I don’t know about that, I haven’t seen my numbers on my velo,” adding he believes his best pitch is a slider he has been working on.
Bailey was signed to a one-year, $7 million free-agent contract by the Twins last winter (his adjusted salary with the shortened season was $2.6 million) but made only two starts. He started the home opener on July 28 against the Cardinals, giving up two runs and four hits over five innings to earn the victory, but went on the injured list shortly thereafter because of right biceps tendinitis. He did not make another start until Tuesday. He gave up one run and two hits over three innings against the Tigers.
The Twins’ starting rotation for the playoffs appears set and, since Bailey wasn’t going to be used in relief in the postseason, the Twins made the move. “That was not an easy thing either,” Baldelli said. “Obviously, we’re going to use his spot and have the opportunity to watch Colina pitch, but Homer was a real professional in every way for us. (He) didn’t get the opportunity to pitch as much as we wanted him too, as much as he wanted, too. But he handled everything the right way, he worked hard, he was able to get out there late in the season. … He helped us win a game at an important time of the year for us (on Tuesday against Detroit). We’re thankful for everything he brought to the table and we’re sad to see him go.”
As far as updates on injured starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand) and second baseman Luis Arraez (ankle), Baldelli said there was consideration given to Odorizzi pitching this weekend against the Reds but a decision was made not to go that route.
“I think with Jake’s (having a) chance to give us some innings in the playoffs, we don’t want to use him too much,” Baldelli said. “We want to let him heal up. He’s been throwing … I believe he’s thrown off the mound, or he’s about to throw off the mound. I need to check on that. But he’s feeling good, his finger is healing up. I think one thing we talked about that we wanted to do was allow him to throw enough where he’s still building up that skin on his finger and put some sort of friction on his finger but not too much. The last thing we want to do is not do anything until next week, and then we throw him and he hasn’t really had the opportunity to build that finger up at all and the skin around it. You’re trying to balance that. Otherwise, he’s doing fine. He proclaims he’s going to be good to go and he feels great.”
Baldelli said the plan was to have Arraez do some running Friday before batting practice. He also was hitting in the cage. “I think he’s doing better,” Baldelli said. “I don’t think his ankle is 100 percent at this point, but we’re still evaluating him. I think today will be a good day to figure out a little bit more about him.”