AL Central Notes: Twins, McKenzie, Greene, White Sox

MLB Trade Rumors

The Twins shuffled their bullpen around a bit today as the club announced that right-hander Jorge Lopez had been reinstated from the injured list. The former All Star was placed on the 15-day IL last month for mental health reasons and told reporters (including Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com) that he’s feeling good about where he’s at as he returns to the mound while expressing appreciation for the organization’s support during his IL stint.

The 30-year-old righty broke out in a big way with the Orioles last season, posting a 1.68 ERA and 2.99 FIP in 48 1/3 innings before Baltimore shipped him to Minnesota at the trade deadline for a package including 2023 relief standout Yennier Cano. Since joining the Twins, Lopez has struggled to a 4.71 ERA and 5.37 FIP in 49 2/3 innings. Lopez, who has two seasons of team control left through arbitration, will look to get his Twins career on track going forward this season as part of a Twins bullpen currently relying on Emilio Pagan, Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran in the late innings.

Lopez’s return isn’t the only change in the Twins bullpen on the horizon, however, as manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters, including The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman, that righty pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic, who had recently been pitching in long relief out of the major league bullpen, will be shortened up and used as a more traditional reliever going forward. Balazovic has impressed in his first call-up to the big leagues this season, with a 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings across six appearances.

More from around the AL Central…

  • Guardians right-hander Triston McKenzie will look to recover from last month’s UCL sprain without going under the knife, per The Athletic’s Zack Meisel. Meisel notes that the 25-year-old righty will be shut down for three more weeks but that Cleveland is hopeful McKenzie will be able to return to the big league mound at some point this season. The prospect of McKenzie returning this season is surely a tantalizing one for Guardians fans, as the young right-hander broke out in a big way last season with a 2.96 ERA in 191 1/3 innings of work. With McKenzie on the shelf, Cleveland is currently utilizing a rotation of Shane Bieber, Cal Quantrill, Aaron Civale, Tanner Bibee, and Gavin Williams.
  • Tigers outfielder Riley Greene began a rehab assignment with the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Toledo yesterday, with Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic among those noting that he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow. That Greene is seemingly nearing a return is fantastic news for the Tigers, who returned left-hander Tarik Skubal from the injured list today and are surely hoping to receive a similar boost from the return of Greene. The 22-year-old outfielder has posted a 127 wRC+ in 224 plate appearances this season in conjunction with stellar center field defense.
  • The White Sox announced today that they had recalled outfielder Oscar Colas to the major league roster. Colas made the club’s Opening Day roster this season as the primary right fielder but struggled to a slash line of just .211/.265/.276 in 84 plate appearances before returning to Triple-A. He’s hit well with the club’s affiliate in Charlotte since then, however, boasting a solid .293/.359/.508 slash line in 212 plate appearances. That performance has seeming earned Colas another shot in right at the big league level, where he’ll likely share time with Gavin Sheets going forward.

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