New pickup Brian Fuentes is latest to join Twins' infirmary

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Brian Fuentes struck out Russell Branyan for a one-out save in his Twins debut, but it may be a while before he pitches a second time for Minnesota.
Fuentes is expected to be unavailable for at least 2-3 days after tweaking his back, which is a tough break for the Twins considering that represents about 10 percent of his total time with the team following last week’s trade with the Angels.
Of course, the Twins likely picked up Fuentes as much for the playoffs as for the final six weeks of the regular season, so as long as he’s healthy enough to face Josh Hamilton, Robinson Cano, Carl Crawford, Curtis Granderson, and Carlos Pena in October they’ll be happy with the move.
Minnesota is also dealing with recent injuries to Jason Kubel, Jim Thome, and Orlando Hudson, with Kevin Slowey, Nick Punto, Ron Mahay, and Jose Mijares on the disabled list, and Justin Morneau still isn’t close to returning from a concussion suffered on July 7, so as Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com writes the stretch run may be a battle of attrition for the AL Central leaders.

Mets to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen

Matt Harvey
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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.

It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.

At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”

Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.