The Twins sent starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco to the disabled list after just one start this year, but the veteran right hander is making strides to return, according to General Manager Terry Ryan.
Nolasco’s bullpen session came with no issues Sunday morning at Target Field, hours before Minnesota took on the Cleveland Indians in the final game of the team’s home stand. Nolasco will make his rehab start on Saturday with the Cedar Rapids Kernals (Class A).
Ryan suggested that Nolasco’s pitch count could be around 75 in his rehab start on Saturday, which could mean a second start in the minors will follow.
Nolasco made two rehab starts with Cedar Rapids last season while battling a shoulder injury, tossing 9.1 innings and allowing just three runs while striking out eight.
He lasted just three innings in his start on April 8th against the Tigers before leaving hurt as the Twins fell 11-0. Nolasco allowed six runs and was credited with the loss. He flew back to Minnesota right away for an MRI on his throwing elbow and many feared the worst – Tommy John surgery – but the organization let out a sigh of relief when they discovered it was only inflammation.
Nolasco first played long toss last Wednesday, and he’s been coming along great with no setbacks since being assigned to the disabled list just days into the 2015 season. The Twins struggling rotation is already missing Ervin Santana up until early July due to a 80-game PED suspension and needs all the help it can get.