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Lefties Duensing, Thielbar give Twins depth in bullpen

Lefties Duensing, Thielbar give Twins depth in bullpen


MINNEAPOLIS -- Having two lefties in the bullpen pitching as effectively as Brian Duensing and Caleb Thielbar have been for the Twins recently is a nice luxury for manager Ron Gardenhire.

In the first two games against the White Sox, each southpaw was called on for one-batter appearances against lefties. On Thursday, Thielbar induced a popup by Alejandro De Aza on one pitch, while Duensing retired slugger Adam Dunn on Friday.

Gardenhire understands the situation sometimes calls for burning a left-hander against a single hitter, but that doesn't mean he's a fan of it.

"My preference is never to bring a lefty in, face one hitter, then walk back out," Gardenhire said. "I really dislike doing that. But sometimes you get in those innings where the other team is left-right-right-right-left, and you just have to do it."

Thielbar has been lights-out no matter who he's facing, posting a 0.87 ERA this season. Opponents are batting a measly .118 against the Northfield, Minn. native, who hasn't surrendered an earned run at Target Field in 2013.

Duensing has followed up a rough July with a flawless August. He's permitted just two hits while striking out nine over 7 1/3 scoreless innings.

Despite their cameos in the opening two games of the White Sox series, each pitcher is so much more than a situational lefty to the skipper.

"I think [Thielbar] can get them out, lefties or righties," Gardenhire said. "And I think Duensing has been throwing good enough the same way. We try to go with matchups and what the papers say as much as we can. I feel both of those guys can go innings. But they're both going pretty good, so that's a good thing for us that we're able to use them however we need to."

Kerry Walls is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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