After spending more than 16 months on the shelf thanks to a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery to reattach the labrum to the bone, left-hander Glen Perkins has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, the Twins announced. To make room on the roster, Minnesota put fellow lefty Dietrich Enns on the 10-day DL due to a shoulder strain. The Twins also announced that righty Aaron Slegers will make his Major League debut tonight as the 26th man in today’s doubleheader.
Perkins’ strong run as a setup-man-turned-closer seems longer ago than it actually was; the 34-year-old was an All-Star in each of the 2013-15 seasons, and he posted a 2.84 ERA with 9.8 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 in 313 1/3 innings from 2011-15. The aforementioned shoulder injury, however, has limited Perkins to just two MLB innings since the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Perkins has spent the season rehabbing his shoulder and recently wrapped up a minor league rehab assignment in which he allowed five runs on six hits and five walks with 10 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. At his best, Perkins averaged 94.9 mph with his fastball, though Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote yesterday that he sat 88-91 mph in his recent rehab outings and topped out at 93 mph.
It remains to be seen just how much Perkins can contribute down the stretch, though his return could be a boon for a Twins relief corps that has struggled for much of the season. It’s unlikely that he’ll step back into the ninth-inning spotlight early on, but he could still help a Twins club that has been lacking a quality second left-hander behind sophomore setup man Taylor Rogers. Minnesota hoped veteran Craig Breslow could fill that role, but he was released earlier this summer. Fellow southpaw Buddy Boshers has had similar issues to Breslow; he’s dominated left-handed opponents but been clobbered by right-handed bats (.292/.375/.557).
As for Slegers, the 24-year-old make a spot start on the heels of a terrific season in Triple-A Rochester. The towering 6’10” right-hander has racked up 130 1/3 innings in Rochester, averaging 6.7 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and 0.48 HR/9 with a 47.1 percent ground-ball rate en route to a 3.18 ERA. A fifth-round pick in 2013, Slegers is not ranked among Minnesota’s top 30 prospects over at MLB.com, but he’s now turned in very solid results over the past two seasons (3.41 ERA in 145 1/3 Double-A innings in 2016). Slegers was added to the 40-man roster last winter to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, so he won’t require a corresponding move.