The Minnesota Twins committed themselves to finishing the season with a six-man rotation Sunday, sending Esmerling Vasquez out for his first major league start and moving Brian Duensing to the bullpen.
P.J. Walters will take Duensing's spot it the rotation, starting Wednesday against the White Sox in Chicago.
"We want to see these other guys pitch more than anything else," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't have any problem starting Duensing. I kind of like seeing him out there. When he's going along good, it's OK."
Vasquez took the loss in a 6-4 setback to the Kansas City Royals, giving up five earned runs on seven hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings. Duensing, who started a 5-4 loss to Seattle last Thursday, pitched two-thirds of an inning in the eighth, getting out of a bases-loaded jam with a 3-2 forceout and a strikeout.
The Twins are auditioning starters for 2013 and hope to go with a six-man rotation featuring four rookies -- Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, Cole De Vries and Liam Hendriks. Vasquez was a reliever in three seasons with Arizona, while Walters had just four major league starts for St. Louis before this year.
"We've got to see everybody pitch," Gardenhire said. "So depending on how everything goes, if one guy scuffles bad, I think we'd go back to five."
Duensing is 2-8 with a 6.92 ERA in 11 starts this season, and he's 1-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 34 relief appearances. However, he has made no secret of his desire to start, and he has a track record of success in that role. Though he was 9-14 with a 5.23 ERA in 2011, his first full season as a starter, he was a combined 12-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 22 starts in 2009 and 2010.