Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain. The 33-year-old Perkins has saved more than thirty games and made the All-Star team in each of the past three seasons, but has also struggled with injuries and some recently diminished velocity.
Perkins has long struggled with injuries and last season he had back and neck problems for much of the season’s second half. Those issues presumably caused his 7.28 ERA after the All-Star game, which, in turn, cost him the closer’s job to then-new teammate Kevin Jepsen (a refugee from the Tampa Bay Rays). Manager Paul Molitor put him back in the closer spot to start this season, but he has allowed five hits in just two innings of work this season and has one blown save to go with it. In the past few years he has also had knee surgery, a forearm strain, and a nerve problem in his left (throwing) arm.
Perkins saw his velocity diminish in spring training, with his fastballs coming over the plate at 2-3 miles per hour slower than he was used to tossing. That didn’t improve in the early going of the 2016 season, and it’s hard to know if this latest injury was percolating throughout the spring until he finally landed on the disabled list again.
The Twins called up left-hander Taylor Rogers to take Perkins’ place in the bullpen. Rogers, whose next major league appearance will be his first, had been a starter in the minor leagues until switching to a relief role this year. The Twins’ closing duties will revert back to Jepsen, but it remains to be seen how many opportunities he will get. The Twins have begun the season with a seven-game losing streak and are still seeking their first win, so this injury and potential added stress to their bullpen corps is not something they really needed.