Minnesota Twins Fans Call for Kenta Maeda's Move to the Bullpen After Tough Outing

ParallelDesk 01:44:38 PM, 27 April 2023

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Kenta Maeda, starting pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, is still struggling to find his rhythm after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2021. During Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees, Maeda lasted only three innings, giving up 10 earned runs on 11 hits. He left the mound with a trainer in a 12-6 loss. Fans and experts alike noticed that Maeda did not look physically well during the game, with Aaron Gleeman tweeting, "Kenta Maeda pretty clearly doesn't look right physically. Seems obvious the Yankees are bunting against him to test his injured ankle, and he also appeared to tweak his back trying to field the bunt(s). Laboring heavily throughout the rough outing and struggling to hit 90 mph." Maeda's previous start on April 20 against the Boston Red Sox ended prematurely after he was hit by a comebacker off the ankle. However, he was deemed fit to pitch on Wednesday after throwing well in a bullpen session on Monday. After the game, Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters, "There was nothing standing in the way of him pitching, ultimately. It's our job to speculate what's going to happen because we have to plan and prepare for all situations, all these outcomes. He really outperformed what we expected as far as recovery." However, with Maeda now undergoing an MRI after complaining of muscle discomfort on the top of his right arm, fans are questioning whether the 35-year-old hurler is too fragile to continue being used as a starter. Many fans have called for Maeda to be moved to the bullpen, with Bailey Ober being called up from Triple-A St. Paul to replace him in the rotation. Ober has started 31 games for the Twins over 2021 and 2022, winning a spot start on Monday against the Washington Nationals as Maeda's status following the Red Sox game was determined. However, Ober was sent back to Triple-A following the start as Maeda was deemed fit to pitch once again. Fans are now concerned that Ober's talents are being wasted in the minors, and they argue that it's time to right that wrong. Maeda is in the last season of an eight-year, $25 million contract. As his recovery continues to be a struggle, it remains to be seen where he will end up in the Twins' lineup when he is healthy enough to return.

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