Posted at 2:06 PM on June 6, 2008
by Steve Rudolph
Juan Rincon didn't pitch Thursday, but his presence contributed to another Twins loss.
Handcuffed with 13 pitchers on his 25-man roster, Ron Gardenhire has few options to manufacture runs and it's quite possible the Twins would have won yesterday if Gardy had another bat on his bench.
Unfortunately the Twins shipped infielder Matt Macri to Class AAA Rochester instead of a pitcher when Scott Baker returned from the disabled list. The Twins opted for 13 pitchers because Brian Bass, Boof Bonser, and Juan Rincon are all out of options and would need to be placed on waivers.
If there's another team that wants to claim Rincon, I say they can have him and his nearly $2.5 million salary.
On Tuesday, Rincon entered the game in the sixth after the Twins had cut the O's lead to two. He yielded hits to both batters he faced and threw in a wild pitch for good measure.
It's become an all-too-familiar scene. Once one of the best setup men in the game, Rincon is now reserved for mop-up duty and is struggling in that role.
Regaining lost confidence isn't Rincon's problem. He simply isn't the pitcher he was prior to his 2006 drug suspension and the Twins should acknowledge this fact and move on.
From 2004 to 2006, Rincon was arguably the best setup man in baseball. During that span, Rincon averaged more than 75 appearances a season, posted an ERA in the twos, and was credited with 67 holds.
Last year his ERA ballooned to 5.13 and he hasn't improved on that much this season. Rincon has also struggled with his control as evidenced by a strikeouts-to-walks ratio that has gone from 3.31 in 2004 to 1.2 this season.
Rincon does have a reputation for bringing comic relief to the clubhouse. However, of late it's his pitching not his quotes that are laughable.