Minnesota Twins right-hander P.J. Walters lasted only four batters Wednesday, tagged with four earned runs and the loss in a 9-8 setback to the Philadelphia Phillies at Target Field.
After Walters gave up four consecutive singles to start the game, manager Ron Gardenhire had seen enough.
"I said, 'You're throwing 80 miles an hour. What's going on here?' " Gardenhire said.
Walters, 27, initially said he was fine but finally came clean: His shoulder was sore. He's scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday and could be headed for the disabled list to make room for right-hander Lester Oliveros, who was called up from Class AAA Rochester to join the bullpen for Thursday's series finale against the Phillies.
"He was trying to protect our bullpen is what came out at the end," Gardenhire said. "Finally he told me he had a sore shoulder, but no one knew about it. He hasn't said anything, he hasn't been in the training room, hasn't received any treatment. Obviously he's trying to pitch through something, and that's not a good way to go about it tonight, because it put us in a pretty big hole."
By the time reliever Jeff Manship closed the door on a nine-batter first inning, the Phillies led 6-0.
Signed last winter as a six-year minor league free agent, Walters has helped stabilize the rotation since being called up on May 10, going 2-1 with a 4.42 ERA before Wednesday's game. On May 22, he threw the Twins' only complete game this season in a 9-2 victory over the White Sox in Chicago.
"I've never missed a start before," Walters said. "Obviously I don't think I'll be throwing for five days, but hopefully it's no big deal. We'll get it checked out tomorrow and go from there."
Oliveros, 24, was a combined 2-2 with six saves and a 2.70 ERA in 25 appearances for Class AA New Britain and Rochester.