BALTIMORE -- With closer Glen Perkins warming up to protect a one-run lead against the Tigers on Thursday, rookie reliever Ryan Pressly figured he'd have to wait at least one more day before making his Major League debut.
When the Twins scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a six-run lead, Pressly got called upon to pitch the ninth inning.
"The phone rang and I knew it meant only one thing was going to happen," Pressly said. "So [bullpen coach] Bobby [Cuellar] told me I was going in and needed to get ready in a hurry, but I was ready. I had plenty of time to get ready."
Pressly didn't disappoint in his debut, as he tossed a scoreless inning to close out the game and even struck out former Twins center fielder Torii Hunter.
"It was pretty fun," Pressly said. "I've been waiting a long time for that."
Pressly, who was selected from Boston in the Rule 5 Draft during the Winter Meetings, must stay with the Twins all season or be offered back to the Red Sox. Minnesota wanted to wait for the perfect situation to bring in Pressly for his first game considering he had only reached Double-A before this season.
"We wanted to find the right situation with a big lead," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We didn't have much pitching out there, so we were able to score some runs and avoid having Perk go in. So we got him his opportunity and he threw good."
Escobar notches two hits in first start
BALTIMORE -- Eduardo Escobar made his first start of the year at shortstop against the Orioles on Friday, replacing regular shortstop Pedro Florimon and batting ninth.
Escobar responded by going 2-for-4 with an RBI single in Minnesota's 9-5 loss and is hitting .500 (3-for-6) so far this season.
Manager Ron Gardenhire insisted the move was simply to get Escobar playing time and not because Florimon made two errors in the club's opening series against the Tigers. With Escobar starting, only outfielders Wilkin Ramirez and Darin Mastroianni have yet to start a game this season.
"We have to mix it up a little bit and get everybody some at-bats," Gardenhire said. "At some point this weekend Ramirez will probably get a start. Mastroianni isn't ready yet, but we're using him the best we can. Everybody needs to play and we wanted to get Escobar in there."
Florimon fared well at the plate in the three-game series against the Tigers, hitting .375 (3-for-8) with a double and two RBIs. Although he made two errors on routine plays at shortstop, Gardenhire said he hasn't lost faith in the 26-year-old shortstop after just three games.
"It was a little bit rough out there," Gardenhire said. "I don't make excuses for players, but the weather has been rough and it's been cold. He's from Latin America, where he's not used to that cold weather, so I don't know if that had an effect on him catching the ball or what. We saw him play really well all spring."
De Vries heading to DL; Hernandez will start Sunday
BALTIMORE -- The Twins scratched right-hander Cole De Vries from his scheduled start on Sunday and will place him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to last Saturday, with a strained right forearm.
The Twins will make the move official before Sunday's game and will recall left-hander Pedro Hernandez from Triple-A Rochester to start in De Vries' place.
De Vries attempted to throw a bullpen session before Friday's game against the Orioles, but he still felt tightness in his forearm. De Vries last pitched on March 29 in Spring Training, but he exited that start after three innings because of discomfort in his forearm.
"He felt it with his curveball," general manager Terry Ryan said about De Vries' bullpen session. "If he doesn't feel right, he can't go out there. It's as simple as that."
De Vries, who posted a 4.11 ERA in 17 outings with the Twins last year, is eligible to come off the DL on April 14. He said he'll have an MRI exam on his forearm in Minnesota on Monday and is hopeful it's nothing serious.
"It's pretty disappointing," De Vries said. "My [bullpen session] was going great, but then I started throwing some offspeed pitches with my curveball and slider and [the tightness] just came back."
Hernandez will be making his Twins debut, as he was acquired before last year's Trade Deadline in the deal that sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox. Hernandez was scheduled to start for Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, so he'll be pitching on normal rest.
Hernandez made one spot start for the White Sox last year, allowing eight runs in four innings against the Red Sox on July 18. He had a combined 3.32 ERA in the Minors last season and impressed this spring by throwing 11 scoreless innings in Grapefruit League play.