Duensing to remain in starting rotation

Duensing to remain in starting rotation

CINCINNATI -- Brian Duensing will remain in the Twins' rotation, but just when he'll get his next start is still up in the air. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Sunday that no decision has been made yet on who will be starting for the Twins when they host Kansas City in a four-game series at Target Field beginning Friday.

Francisco Liriano, Liam Hendriks and Nick Blackburn are scheduled to start against the White Sox when the Twins open a seven-game homestand Monday. The Twins have an off-day on Thursday before the Royals come to town for a series that includes a doubleheader on Saturday. Duensing's turn in the rotation would come up on Friday, but as he attempts to convert back to a starting role from the bullpen, the Twins are still attempting to prepare him for longer outings.

"He is going to start, but we're just figuring out our days," Gardenhire said. "We haven't set or written it in stone yet what days, but we're definitely going to keep Brian in the rotation."

Duensing threw 63 pitches in three-plus innings of work during Saturday's 6-0 loss against the Reds. He hadn't gone past three innings or thrown more than 45 pitches in any of his previous 30 outings this season. He gave up just one hit and walked one through the first three innings before tiring in the fourth and giving up four runs on three hits, including a two-run home run to Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips.

With Carl Pavano and P.J. Walters both on the disabled list -- Pavano with a shoulder strain and Walters with shoulder inflammation -- the Twins will be looking to add another starter to the rotation in time for next weekend.

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Sunday that Pavano is expected to begin a throwing program this week. Walters is expected to throw a couple of bullpen sessions this week, but will need at least one rehab start before returning to the rotation.

There is no word on Pavano's status. He has asked Gardenhire not to comment on his rehab progress. Walters will likely need at least one rehab start before returning to the rotation.

"He needs to go start and see if he can get through some innings before we can put him back on the mound," Gardenhire said of Pavano. "I can't afford to have him start a game and then go, 'This isn't working out,' and me take him out in the third inning. I can't afford that up here right now. I don't have enough pitching for that."