MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The back and neck problems that hounded Glen Perkins the past two seasons have subsided.
Now the Minnesota Twins closer has shoulder trouble.
The Twins placed Perkins on the 15-day disabled list before their game Wednesday, and the three-time All-Star said he’ll be out longer than the minimum stay. Kevin Jepsen will assume the ninth-inning role in the meantime.
“It kind of has a feeling of I plugged one hole in the dam and another hole opened up,” Perkins said before the winless Twins hosted Chicago. “Thankfully my back and all those things feel good right now. It’s frustrating. I’ve done a lot of shoulder work this spring and stretching and making sure that I stay loose and that I keep the flexibility, because that’s something that I have to battle as I get older.”
The injury was initially diagnosed as a strain of the rotator-cuff muscles. Perkins said he was told he has some fraying of his labrum, too. He was still working on a treatment plan with the team’s medical staff, but he said he won’t throw for at least a week.
“Whether it was the amount of pitches he threw over the course of two days, you can speculate all you want,” manager Paul Molitor said. “But we’ve been assured that he’d been feeling fine.”
Perkins recorded 28 of his 32 saves prior to the All-Star break last year, before his body began to break down. His second-half performance was a setback in 2014, too, so he set out to work with a lower back specialist and strengthen his core for better preparation for the length of the season.
His velocity was down a few miles per hour in spring training, but he said he felt fine. Then there was the game Sunday at Kansas City, his first save appearance of the year. He gave up three hits and two runs in the ninth inning to the let the Royals tie the game and eventually win in the 10th.
Perkins told bullpen coach Eddie Guardado in warmups that he felt strong.
“And then as I was pitching, the command wasn’t there and the life wasn’t there. I resorted to throwing sliders basically just because I wasn’t comfortable throwing a fastball, and that’s no way to compete,” Perkins said.
As he cooled down later, the back of his shoulder “felt like burning.”
Left-hander Taylor Rogers was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to join the bullpen. Rogers was an 11th-round draft pick out of Kentucky in 2012. He has yet to appear in the majors.
Jepsen served as the closer last summer while Perkins was ailing and fared well. The right-hander posted a 1.61 ERA over 29 appearances with the Twins after arriving in a trade with Tampa Bay.
“It’s not like we’re thrusting him into something he hasn’t gone through before,” Molitor said. “He stepped up for us last year down the stretch, and he’s more than capable.”
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