Posted by: gravessack | June 11, 2017

Twins Grab Heston From Dodgers; Cut Tepesch

Minnesota Twins pitcher Chris Heston pitching while playing for the San Francisco Giants

Minnesota Twins pitcher Chris Heston pitching while playing for the San Francisco Giants

It is mid-June and surprisingly the Twins are in first place! They are just squeaking by with only two reliable starters, a bullpen that has been sub-par, and a closer who looks unsteady at times. Seeing that there is no clear front-runner in the AL Central this year, the Twins architects are leaving no stone unturned and trying to bolster their pitching staff for the final three months. So when the Dodgers put pitcher Chris Heston on waivers last week, General Manager Thad Levine swallowed him up on June 7, then simultaneously cut reliever Nick Tepesch.

Over the past year, Heston never got into a rhythm with a single team. The 29-year-old was traded to Seattle in December, and then claimed off waivers by the Dodgers and Twins within the last month. Heston really struggled in his two Major League appearances with Seattle this year, which includes one start, posting a 19.80 ERA while giving up 12 runs in just 5 innings. His most effective year came in 2015 with San Francisco. Heston started 31 games that year, recording a 3.95 ERA with 141 strikeouts, while winning 12 games. However, excluding the 2015 season, Heston only appeared in ten Major League games over three years. The Florida native’s Twins debut was today, June 11, where he pitched an inning, throwing a couple pitches in the dirt and surrendering one hit. In Heston’s rocky start to his career, he has produced a 4.57 ERA with 151 strikeouts.

To complete the transaction, the club released Tepesch. Having been one of Levine’s first signings, he was hoping to have pitched more for the Twins. That was not the case. Tepesch only appeared in one game, a start in the second game of a doubleheader on May 6, going just 1 2/3 innings and giving up 7 runs. The pitcher was brought in with a minor league contract, but after that one outing, he was never seen again.

Based on Heston’s past, I am not sure why the Twins wanted him. There is a possibility that the Twins want him to start some games since the back end of the starting rotation seems to be in flux now, due to Hector Santiago’s shoulder strain and Kyle Gibson’s wobbly outings. I bet that Heston will land in the bullpen though to help win games that have a little uncertainty. Whatever role Heston gets, the Twins look like they are going all out as they see a potential route to the play-offs. If the Twins can win more games at home and keep close to first place into July, look for the Twins to make more moves to bolster their roster.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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