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Lefties Duensing, Thielbar give Twins depth in bullpen

Lefties Duensing, Thielbar give Twins depth in bullpen

Lefties Duensing, Thielbar give Twins depth in bullpen play video for 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.

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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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