The Twins are likely to select right-hander Chi Chi González onto the big league roster, according to various reporters (including Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press and Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com). He’s expected to start tomorrow night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Minnesota just placed Sonny Gray on the 15-day injured list on account of a right pectoral strain this afternoon. That deals another blow to a rotation that is already without Joe Ryan because of COVID-19 protocols and lost Josh Winder and Chris Paddack (the latter for the entire season) to arm injuries last month. That leaves Dylan Bundy, Bailey Ober, Chris Archer and Devin Smeltzer as the top four arms in the rotation, although manager Rocco Baldelli said on Tuesday he hopes Winder can return next week (Park link).
That uncertainty in the starting staff may afford González the opportunity for a longer-term audition for a depth role, but it’s also possible he’s up for a one-off appearance. The Twins are headed to Toronto for a weekend series, and they’re likely to be without some players for that set. The Canadian government prohibits unvaccinated athletes from traveling across the border, and previous teams headed to Ontario have placed some players on the restricted list as a result.
Regardless, González is now set for his fourth consecutive season of MLB action. The 30-year-old pitched for the Rockies between 2019-21, posting an ERA of 5.29 or higher in each year. González posted worse than average strikeout and walk numbers throughout his time in Colorado, but that environment comes with its own set of challenges he won’t face in Minnesota. He at least managed to soak up innings for the Rox, and he’s off to a nice beginning to his tenure with the Twins.
Assigned to Triple-A St. Paul to open the season, the former first-round pick has started five of his eight outings. He’s tossed 36 2/3 innings of 3.44 ERA ball, striking out a decent 23.2% of batters faced against a 9.3% walk rate. Most impressively, the Oral Roberts product has induced grounders on more than 55% of batted balls against him in the minors. That’s a marked uptick over his career 42.4% figure in the big leagues, and the Twins will hope he can carry that new form over against MLB hitters.