KANSAS CITY -- With the Twins heading to Chicago on Monday to start a three-game set with the American League Central-leading White Sox, the word was inevitably going to come up: Spoiler.
Entering play Sunday, the Twins were in last place in the division, trailing Chicago by 17 1/2 games. So, do they relish the role of potentially spoiling playoff hopes in Chicago or Detroit?
"That's always part of the process, but more than anything else, it's getting a better feeling about yourself going into the winter," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You will be a part of this division race, not the way we want to be a part of it, obviously. You put your best foot forward like we always try to do. And you will play and have an impact on it."
Walters to start Wednesday against White Sox
KANSAS CITY -- P.J. Walters will get back into the starting rotation.
The Twins announced that Walters is the probable starter for Wednesday's series finale against the White Sox in Chicago. It'll be the right-hander's first start since being reinstated from the disabled list on Saturday.
Walters was placed on the 15-day DL on June 14 and was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 28, while battling right shoulder inflammation. He made eight rehab starts with Triple-A Rochester, posting a 3-3 record and a 4.01 ERA.
"Well, now that he's healthy, we're just hoping he can pick up where he left off," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He didn't throw the ball great in Triple-A, but I think it was about building arm strength and all those things. Now, he's going to have to get back to locating and using his breaking ball."
In seven starts with the Twins between May 12 and June 13, Walters went 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA. After allowing three runs or fewer and finishing six innings in all four of his starts in May, he struggled in June, allowing 18 runs in 9 1/3 innings over three starts.
But Walters said the rehab assignment at the tail end of his lengthy DL trip was a positive one, allowing him to get back into action.
"I threw 90-something pitches on Thursday. I'm cleared and ready to go," Walters said. "I think part of the rehab assignment was knocking the rust off. I hadn't been out in a while, getting back into the swing of things.
"You don't realize how quick control and everything kind of goes away when you're not playing everyday. You take a couple weeks off, all of a sudden you're back trying to throw again and it's a little out of whack."
Gardenhire mentioned that a date with the American League Central-leading White Sox isn't the easiest way to ease back into things, but Walters pitched his strongest outing of the season in Chicago on May 22, allowing just two runs on five hits in a complete-game effort, striking out eight.
"That's a tough venue, going to Chicago, getting that first start back up there," Gardenhire said. "But he actually pitched his best game of the year there, I think a complete ballgame.
"He's going to have to pitch really well against that team and the way the ball flies there. Use all of his pitches and locate the ball and keep the pace of the game going, just like before. We'll see how he does. It'll be interesting to see, first time back."
Duensing moving back to bullpen
KANSAS CITY -- With manager Ron Gardenhire adding new pitchers to the starting rotation, Brian Duensing will move to the bullpen.
The left-hander is the odd man out of an expanded rotation that will allow the Twins to get a look at some young hurlers. He's appeared in 44 games for the Twins this season, including 11 starts. His last seven outings have been starts, going 2-4 with a 5.82 ERA in those games.
"We want to see these other guys pitch, more than anything else," Gardenhire said. "I don't have any problem starting him at all. I kind of like seeing him out there when he's going all good, it's OK. I think he battled pretty good the other day, gave us a good chance, but he kind of ran out of gas a little there in the sixth. But I have no problem with that."
Last season, Duensing started 28 of the 32 games he appeared in, going 9-14 with a 5.23 ERA. Gardenhire added that the lefty has expressed a desire to continue starting and that he'll have a chance to do so next season.
"I feel also, over the course of the winter, to give him a chance in Spring Training, he needs to work on the windup, get back to what he was when he was a starter: pitch out of the windup, normal starting routine," Gardenhire said. "He mentioned that he'd like to have a chance to be a starter. Well, depending on who we sign and who we bring in, there's a good chance that he'll have that opportunity. He's so versatile. That's the great thing about him."
Berrios named Twins' Minor League player of week
KANSAS CITY -- Pitching prospect Jose Berrios was named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week on Sunday.
In his third start since being promoted to the Rookie league Elizabethton Twins, Berrios went six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out seven. He picked up the win, his second since joining Elizabethton.
The right-hander was drafted 32nd overall by the Twins in the first round of June's First-Year Player Draft, and he's had an impressive start to his professional career.
Berrios went 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in eight appearances with the GCL Twins, and he's 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three starts with Elizabethton. Combined, he's allowed just four runs in 30 2/3 innings and has struck out 49 batters.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.