TORONTO -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was encouraged by reliever Jared Burton's 1-2-3 inning against the Yankees on Thursday, and will continue to try to find spots for him to work through his recent struggles.
Burton threw a perfect ninth inning on Thursday, retiring Zoilo Almonte, Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner in order. It was a nice bounce-back effort after posting an 11.00 ERA in nine innings over his previous 10 outings.
"He threw his fastball, and we liked that a lot -- every pitch but one was a fastball -- and that was the goal," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You have to command the fastball in his league, and then you can go to your other stuff. We know he has a great changeup and a nice slider, but when they're constantly spitting on those, you can't put away a hitter."
Gardenhire said he'll use right-hander Casey Fien or left-hander Caleb Thielbar in the eighth inning until Burton works his way back into that role. Burton has a 4.17 ERA in 36 2/3 innings this year after posting a 2.18 ERA in 62 innings last year.
"We'll use Fien probably in the eighth inning and go from there with Thielbar and some of those guys," Gardenhire said. "We liked what we saw yesterday, and now we'll have to do it again and we'll go from there. We need him back in the eighth inning spot. But first we want him to get going and feel good about himself."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.