KANSAS CITY -- The Twins made a pair of roster additions Saturday, selecting the contract of right-handed hurler Esmerling Vasquez from Triple-A Rochester and reinstating right-hander P.J. Walters from the 60-day disabled list.
Vasquez, who Minnesota picked up on waivers in November, was recently converted from a reliever to a starter, and he'll get his first Major League start in his Twins debut on Sunday.
"We saw him in Spring Training," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "[He has a] live fastball. The ball jumps out of his hand. The breaking ball is OK, average.
"We haven't seen him as a starter, though. We were using him out of the bullpen [in Spring Training]. But he stretched out and stepped up, and he threw the ball great as a starter down there. So that's kind of exciting, because we kind of viewed him as a reliever out of Spring Training."
Vasquez pitched the previous eight seasons in the Arizona organization, making 141 appearances with the D-backs over the past three years. He's 5-10 and posted a 4.66 ERA in his big league career, allowing 71 earned runs in 137 innings.
Vasquez was primarily a reliever this season with Triple-A Rochester, as well, but he did start eight games. In a total of 31 appearances with the Red Wings, he went 9-6 with a 2.78 ERA, striking out 98 batters in 100 1/3 innings.
"We watched him and looked at him, and I think [Rochester pitching coach] Bobby [Cuellar] recommended, 'This guy's got enough pitches to start,'" Twins executive VP and general manager Terry Ryan said. "And with our need up here, that's why we made that decision. The other thing [is] ... [Vasquez] had a little trouble pitching back-to-back. So we decided, 'OK, if that's the case, let's start him and give him four days in between.' It was a combination [of factors]."
"We're excited to see him," Gardenhire said. "I'm anxious to see how his breaking ball is. I've only watched him on TV, and TV throws a little deception at you as far as how they're breaking and what kind of snap it has on it. I'm anxious to see him get out on the mound. It'll be kind of fun."
Walters returns after a lengthy stay on the DL. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on June 14 and transferred to the 60-day DL on July 28. He's made eight rehab starts this season with Rochester, going 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA.
Walters has made seven starts with the Twins this season, going 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA.
Twins likely to add at least one starter to rotation
KANSAS CITY -- With the roster additions of Esmerling Vasquez and P.J. Walters on Saturday, the Twins are considering expanding their starting rotation to more than the traditional five.
"We're in a good situation if we want to do that and give them a better look, give some of these younger guys the ability to monitor their innings, [Scott] Diamond specifically, but there's a few others," Twins executive VP and general manager Terry Ryan said. "Most of these guys that are in the rotation have not approached some of the areas that we're involved in now. This is one opportunity where you can go to a six-man or even a seven-man if you deemed it necessary.
"We're bringing up a couple starting pitchers, Vasquez and Walters, and ... we're certainly interested in how they respond. We know a lot more about Walters up here than Vasquez. We can do that if we want to. We have that type of flexibility. That's not what we want to do, but that's the position we're in."
Vasquez is already penciled in to make the start on Sunday in the series finale against the Royals. The right-hander was converted from a reliever to a starter in Triple-A this season. Manager Ron Gardenhire mentioned that he'd also like Walters to remain a starting pitcher, which he has been since joining the Twins this season.
"We'd like to start [Walters]. That's what he was doing before. That's what he's used to," Gardenhire said. "We'll figure that all out, go with a six-man rotation, seven, whatever. That's what we'll do, but first we'll talk to the pitchers and let them know where we're at."
Gardenhire happy to play 'old-school' double dip
KANSAS CITY -- The rain that washed out Friday's game between the Twins and Royals didn't dampen Ron Gardenhire's spirits. In fact, it might've brightened them.
The Twins' skipper was happy that his team was going to play a standard doubleheader instead of a split doubleheader Saturday.
"It's kind of old-school, to tell you the truth," he said. "Back in the day, there were no split doubleheaders. They were taboo. This is good. If you're going to play two, play them [straight through] like this, with a few minutes in between each game, and go right back at it. Sitting around for a split doubleheader is a long wait.
"This is a good thing to do. I know the weather's been tough. ... The field will probably be wet, but this is a really nice field. It takes on a lot of water and handles it. But there's going to be some spots on the outfield that are a little wet, so we'll do the best we can with it and 'play two,' as Ernie Banks said."
The last time Minnesota played a traditional doubleheader was Sep. 13, 2008, in Baltimore. Perhaps there's a good reason Gardenhire was happy for another one to roll along: The Twins won both those games, outscoring the Orioles, 24-8.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.