Although the Twins are well out of the American League playoff picture, Trevor May still has plenty to pitch for as he looks toward the future. After all, the righty's first four starts in the big leagues have been anything but pretty.
The club's No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com has been roughed up in each of his four starts, going more than five innings just once. He hasn't completed six frames yet, either. Wednesday, he'll take the mound against John Danks and the White Sox.
On the season, May has allowed 23 runs over 19 innings, all in Minnesota losses. In his last start, he threw well through three innings, but came apart in a 9-1 loss to the Orioles in the fourth and fifth.
May fanned eight, but Baltimore strung hits together and tagged him for eight runs over 4 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old hit two batters and Chris Davis made him pay with a grand slam.
"It looked like he lost his poise out there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He couldn't repeat it and put himself in some bad situations. He fell behind Mr. Davis up there. He tried to throw one over, and he deposited it. So it's a tough inning for him and he has to learn to control his emotions."
Danks had a strong stretch from late May until the All-Star break, posting a 2.69 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 10 starts. But in eight outings since, the veteran lefty has a 7.31 ERA and opponents are batting .324/.380/.555 against him.
He's winless in his last six starts, including one against the Indians last week, when he allowed just two runs on five hits over six innings.
"I'd like to go deeper in the game, but I kept us in the ballgame," Danks said after the 3-2 loss to Cleveland. "That's the No. 1 rule in my job description, I guess. We'll call it a success. It's not as good as I'd like, but at the end of the day, we didn't win."
Twins: Mauer back at first base
Joe Mauer served as Minnesota's designated hitter for four straight days because of a sore left shoulder. Tuesday, he returned to the field and played first base against the White Sox.
Mauer initially injured that shoulder diving for a ball last week against the Royals. It couldn't hold him out of the lineup, but Gardenhire said he wanted to be cautious and give rookie Kennys Vargas a chance at first base.
"We gave him some days at DH to gather himself a little bit and regroup," Gardenhire said. "But he's swinging it for us. He had a huge day for our team yesterday. He's been coming to play every day. That's what you want out of him. He missed a lot of baseball. But he's a guy who can stir it up for us. He has a great swinging and is swinging good."
White Sox: Rodon not among callups
Carlos Rodon was not one of Chicago's September callups, although general manager Rick Hahn acknowledged that some debate took place about bringing up the club's top prospect. The White Sox selected Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick out of North Carolina State in this year's First-Year Player Draft.
The club determined it was not the best thing for Rodon, who they project as a top-end starter in the near future.
"I realize it would have been fun to have him here because he's an exciting player," said Hahn. "I realize it would have been an element of the future that people want to see. But fundamentally, we are making these decisions about what's best for his long-term development.
"If today was July 2 or August 2 and the player had made three starts at Triple-A and had 25 some odd innings as a pro, nobody would be asking why he's not in the big leagues. It's about what's best for the player's long-term development. We felt a big league promotion was not consistent with that at this time."
Rodon, 21, has made just nine Minor League appearances this season, the last three coming with Triple-A Charlotte. He jumped from rookie ball to Class A Advanced Winston-Salem to Triple-A in just a few months.
• Minnesota's No. 6 prospect, Nick Gordon, broke his left index finger and will miss the remainder of the playoffs for rookie-level Elizabethton.
• White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu sat out of Tuesday's game with general soreness.
"He's not injured, but every time you look at him it looks like he might get injured," said manager Robin Ventura. "He wants to play, but I think we're just making sure he doesn't do anything worse. For right now, just give him a day."
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.