Prior to Saturday’s game against the New York Mets, the Minnesota Twins announced they had optioned starting pitcher Liam Hendriks to Triple-A in order to make room for left-hander Scott Diamond who is coming off the disabled list. The team also announced that Wilkin Ramirez would be placed on the paternity list, beginning on Sunday, which allows Ramirez to be away from the team for three days to be with his wife after the birth of their child. Ramirez, who is hitting .200 with two hits and one RBI in five games this season, is heading to New York to attend the birth of his second child.
The Twins decided to wait until Sunday to announce the corresponding roster move to replace Ramirez because Sunday’s game has been postponed because of weather and now the Twins will be able to use the maximum three days to their full potential.
In the case of Hendriks, there was a decision the Twins had to make on who to keep around on the roster, who to demote to the minors and who was going to the bullpen. The decision had come down to Hendriks or left-hander Pedro Hernandez. Hernandez pitched well in relief on Friday against the Mets, before leaving the game due to a minor ankle injury, allowing one earned run and four hits for 4.1 innings of relief. Hendriks’ last start on Wednesday in Kansas City wasn’t his worst start of his career, but he didn’t pass the eye test of a pitcher who deserved to stay at the majors. In that start, Hendriks allowed one earned run, four hits and struck out four in five innings of work.
It is unfortunate that Hendriks had to be sent down after his best start of the season, but his inability to come out of the bullpen, at the time of his demotion, allowed for Hernandez to stay on the roster with Diamond coming off the disabled list. It wouldn’t help Hendriks’ development to sit on the bench and only pitch every few days anyway, as he is a young pitcher who needs to continue to pitch and hone his skills so he can earn a return to the rotation someday.
Progress has been seen with Hendriks and by no means have the Twins given up on the talented right-hander; but if the decision ever will come down to Hendriks or Diamond, it isn’t much of a decision at all as Diamond is the clear winner. Diamond simply has had enough proven success at the majors compared to Hendriks and he is likely the team’s best starting pitcher. Again, it is unfortunate for Hendriks to be sent down to Triple-A; but as long as he continues to learn from these demotions, Hendriks will be a better pitcher coming back in the future.