Simeon Woods Richardson expected to debut in coming days
He was part of the return in the Twins' trade of Jose Berrios last season
DETROIT — How’s this for a birthday present?
The day Simeon Woods Richardson turned 22 — Tuesday — St. Paul Saints manager Toby Gardenhire informed the pitcher that he would be joining the Twins on their season-ending road trip. While Woods Richardson, one of the Twins top pitching prospects, is currently in Detroit as a member of the taxi squad, manager Rocco Baldelli said he expects the rookie to debut before the season ends.
And while Baldelli did not specify when Woods Richardson would pitch, Sunday is the only game remaining that the Twins have not yet listed a probable pitcher for. When he debuts, he will be the youngest pitcher in the majors this season.
“I was ecstatic. Very emotional,” Woods Richardson said of hearing the news. “I think … of all the hard work I put in, all the dedication, all the ‘nos,’ I’ve said. Just to join this type of caliber of team, to be a sponge, to hear all the knowledge, be around all the guys in the clubhouse, just experience everything, I think that’s what I’m most excited about.”
The promotion comes after a minor league season in which Woods Richardson excelled both at Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul. He ended his minor league season with a 2.77 earned-run average across 23 games, striking out 115 batters in 107 1/3 innings pitched.
Notably, he cut down on a walk rate that ballooned from 2.0 walks per nine innings to 5.7 in 2021. This year, that number was back down to 3.0 walks per nine. That, he said, was a result of making some mechanical tweaks beginning last season after he was traded over to the Twins along with Austin Martin for Jose Berrios.
He’s also been working on his slider this season and said he’s seen the most growth out of that pitch. But the primary area of improvement, he said, was in his “own headspace as a pitcher.”
“Learning myself — I think that’s the biggest point I improved on is knowing my game and how to attack people and how to attack hitters and use the team behind me to win,” Woods Richardson said. “I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Mahle builds up
Tyler Mahle will not appear in another game this season, but the starter traveled with the Twins on their final road trip as he continues to build himself back up.
Mahle has had two separate stints on the injured list for his fatigued right shoulder since being traded to Minnesota in early August. But the shoulder, he said, feels good and imaging has come back clean, so the Twins are trying to build him back up and send him into the offseason in a good spot.
“We’re going to continue him on that program and try to get him in the best possible spot for when we break and when the season ends,” Baldelli said. “That’s part of what he’s doing. It’s possible that he could even throw a bullpen, a light bullpen this week too.”
Mahle has been dealing with shoulder issues since before the trade — he spent part of July on the IL with a shoulder strain — and the starter thinks he might have pinpointed the cause of his issues
“I think the shortened spring training and then I had a lot of my bulk was in the beginning of the year, throwing a lot of pitches. I was skipping — for a few starts there, I was skipping — I was just on a normal five days,” Mahle said. “We’d have an off day and I would just throw on a normal day, so I think the short offseason just going right into it may have affected it a little bit.”
The Tigers showed a tribute video on the scoreboard pregame, welcoming back Twins reliever Michael Fulmer. Fulmer debuted in 2016 and was the American League Rookie of the Year that year and played for the Tigers up until the trade deadline this year. … In addition to Woods Richardson, the Twins also brought Aaron Sanchez, Devin Smeltzer, Cole Sands and Elliot Soto to Detroit as part of the taxi squad following the conclusion of the Triple-A season.
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