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Gardenhire willing to give struggling starters more time

Gardenhire willing to give struggling starters more time

MINNEAPOLIS -- After signing Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey to a combined $84 million worth of deals in the offseason, the Twins hoped their rotation would be improved in 2014.

But so far, that simply hasn't been the case, as Twins starters have combined to post a 6.32 ERA that ranks second-worst in the Majors entering Saturday's game against the Tigers. It's more than a run worse than last season, when the rotation posted a Major League-worst 5.26 ERA.

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged the rotation's struggles, but he said it's too early to make any sweeping changes.

"We've got our starters and we like them, but we also need results," Gardenhire said. "We think these guys are going to be OK. We're hoping they're going to be OK as we go along here. Making adjustments to the rotation, I wish it was that easy. You have to give them a little bit of time here. You don't want to jump the gun."

Gardenhire said he's confident based on their track records that Twins starters will get better as the season goes along. But he also said the Twins are concerned about the subpar outings by their starters. Reliever Samuel Deduno would likely be the top option to join the rotation if a change is made, but Gardenhire said he wants to give his starters a few more chances to turn it around.

"They're here for a reason," Gardenhire said. "Hopefully they'll get rolling and we won't have to have this conversation. But I understand the concern, because we're concerned, too. We need more innings out of our starters, and no one knows it better than our starters."

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.

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