The Twins have reinstated right-hander Homer Bailey from the 45-day injured list and optioned righty Sean Poppen to their alternate training site, per a team announcement. He’ll start tonight’s game. Minnesota’s recent outright of Zack Littell gave them a 40-man opening to accommodate Bailey’s return. They still have another 40-man spot to work with if they choose, as the Twins could move Brent Rooker, who recently fractured his forearm, to the 45-day IL as well.
Bailey, 34, signed a one-year, $7MM deal with the Twins on the heels of a bounceback 2019 effort split between the Royals and Athletics. The longtime Reds righty was limited to 231 2/3 innings of 6.25 ERA ball in his final four years in Cincinnati but turned in 163 1/3 innings between Kansas City and Oakland last year. Bailey logged a combined 4.57 ERA but a more impressive 4.11 FIP, averaging 8.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 along the way. His 10.8 percent swinging-strike rate was the second-best of his career.
This season, however, Bailey has made just one start for the Twins. It was a solid effort, as he held the Cardinals to a pair of runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts though five innings. But Bailey felt some discomfort in his right arm shortly thereafter, and he landed on the injured list with biceps tendinitis that has sidelined him since
The 2020 campaign will go down as a largely lost season for the veteran righty, but he’ll have the opportunity to make at least one start in the season’s final week — perhaps two — and could yet factor into the postseason pitching staff in some manner. It won’t be a great platform him as he ventures back out into free agency, but getting back to the mound and performing reasonably well would give him a bit of a boost on the open market this winter.