Logan Darnell to join Twins on Friday
The other half of the transaction is not presently known. A player from the current 25-man roster will need to be optioned or placed on the disabled list to make room for Darnell. The Twins will re-evaluate Aaron Hicks on Friday morning, and he could be placed on the 7 day concussion list. They could also option a reliever to Rochester.
After the second game on Thursday night, Game 2 starter and 26th man Kris Johnson was sent back to Rochester.
The Minnesota Twins are in need of an arm on Friday and throughout this weekend. With the rainouts and Thursday's doubleheader, there could have been issues. However, when neither of Thursday's starters went beyond five innings, the bullpen was all overused. Jared Burton pitched in both games. Sam Deduno and Anthony Swarzak, the long-relievers, both threw a lot of pitches. Brian Duensing threw on Wednesday and a lot of pitches again on Thursday. The Twins need an arm. Darnell was scheduled to start for Rochester on Saturday, so he would be capable of eating extended innings if needed.
Of course, it would be ideal if Ricky Nolasco would throw seven, eight or even nine innings on Friday night against Baltimore, but the Twins have to be prepared for that not happening.
Yesterday, I named Darnell the Minnesota Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of April. In four starts, he went 0-0 but posted an ERA of 1.69 and a WHIP of 1.03. He worked 21.1 innings and gave up 15 hits, walked seven and struck out 21.
Darnell was drafted by the Twins in the 6th round of the 2009 draft. He played college ball at the University of Kentucky where he was a teammate of former Twins pitcher Andrew Albers as well as potential Twins pitchers Alex Meyer and Taylor Rogers. Injured Ft. Myers outfielder Lance Ray and former Twins farmhand Gunner Glad also played at Kentucky with Darnell.
In December, I had the opportunity to talk to Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson about these players, and he had wonderful things to say about Logan Darnell.
Regarding Darnell, Henderson said, “He is (a character guy). He was real aggressive early on. His secondary stuff was short, early on. When you’re looking at these guys, there’s a part of you that says that’s why you got them. If you’re left-handed, and you show any arm strength, and you have above average secondary stuff, then professional baseball can happen early. Logan was a very hard worker, very aggressive on the mound, willing to make adjustments, willing to learn. Made huge strides. He got better each year. He comes from a top-notch family. Really good people.
After signing, Darnell went to Elizabethton. In 2011, his first full season, he made six starts for Beloit, 15 starts in Ft. Myers and then five starts with New Britain. He spent the entire 2012 season with the Rock Cats and then went to the Arizona Fall League. He started 2013 in New Britain as well. When he was pitching very well in mid season, he earned the promotion to Rochester. Following the season, he was added to the 40 man roster.
This spring he participated in his first big league spring training and was optioned in early March so he could be stretched out and prepared to start.
Darnell most likely will only be with the Twins for the weekend. However, can you imagine getting that phone call, likely very late at night, that you were going to the big leagues? Learning that you are about to live your dream has to be a remarkable moment.