ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Just as manager Ron Gardenhire hinted that they might during Sunday's pregame, the Twins recalled Jim Hoey from Triple-A Rochester following Minnesota's 4-2 win over Tampa Bay.
The move was made in order to give Twins veteran Joe Nathan a little breathing room as he battles consistency issues on his path back from Tommy John surgery. Nathan announced on Sunday morning that he had discussed with Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson a temporary leave from the closer's role. He instead will pitch in less pressured situations while getting the zip back on his pitches.
Hoey, who worked to a 1-0 record and 2.70 ERA with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings for the Red Wings this season, will likely work primarily eighth innings, and newly-anointed closer Matt Capps the ninth, in order to free up Nathan to work earlier on.
"I just don't have that last bit of life on [my pitches]," Nathan said. "It'll show signs of life and definitely be there at times, which is promising. That lets me know that it is coming back. With this process, it's now about pitching with strategy."
Hoey, his temporary replacement, impressed Twins' staff in Spring Training enough that coaches approached Minnesota newcomer and catcher Steve Holm about what he saw when catching for the righty.
The report was shining, and Hoey is on his way to meet the team in Baltimore, where the Twins open a four-game series with the Orioles on Monday night.
"We need a power arm, and I think we all saw that toward the end [today]," Gardenhire said. "Hoey's been powering it in there. We know he throws the ball mid-90s, and we're going to give him a shot."
To make room on the roster, Minnesota optioned Jeff Manship to Triple-A. The optioned righty had an 8.10 ERA over 3 1/3 innings (five appearances) with the Twins this season.