Louie Varland is being called back up for what could be his last chance with Twins

Louie Varland is getting one more chance to prove himself after getting recalled from St. Paul.
The Twins called up Louie Varland for what could be his last chance to prove himself in a start vs. Rockies.
The Twins called up Louie Varland for what could be his last chance to prove himself in a start vs. Rockies. / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
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Earlier this season the Minnesota Twins announced that Louie Varland had made the Opening Day roster as the team’s fifth starter. Just over two months last he could be making his last stand in a Twins uniform.

The Twins revealed after a 5-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday that Varland was being recalled and would make a spot start on Tuesday.

Varland was sent down to Triple-A St. Paul after a brutal start to the season. He posted a 9.18 ERA in four starts, with his last game being one in which the Detroit Tigers absolutely lit him up in less than three innings of work.

It was a sour chaser to what had otherwise been an impressive Spring Training for Varland. He struggled last year before bouncing back as part of the bullpen late in the season, and his strong spring seemed to indicate he might have turned a corner.

Simeon Woods Richardson has turned in the season we all expected Varland to have, and Tuesday could be his last chance to prove himself as a meaningful part of Minnesota’s future.

Twins call up Louie Varland to start vs. Rockies in what could be his last chance

Varland isn’t getting called up because he’s forced his way back onto the 26-man roster, rather it’s a spot start to give the starting rotation some relief. Chris Paddack pitched a gem on Monday night, going 6.1 innings a striking out six batters while posting a shutout performance.

That allowed the Twins to skim the bullpen rather than dig deep, and the use of Diego Castillo in the ninth inning means most of the arms will be fresh if Varland struggles. Nobody is hoping for that scenario, though, as the best case is that Varland pitches a bounce back game that helps rebuild his confidence and restore some of his reputation.

If he struggles, he’ll likely tumble down the ladder in terms of which pitcher will get called up from Triple-A the next time Minnesota needs a starter. Notably, David Festa continues to dominate and recently cracked the team’s Top 100 prospect list according to MLB Pipeline.

He’s not on the 40-man roster, though. It doesn’t take a detective to determine that a bad start by Varland will likely mean Festa gets his roster spot when he ultimately gets called up.

Varland has been slowly starting to turn things around in St. Paul, though. The Twins wanted him to work on his change up, which it seems he has. That will be on display tomorrow against the Rockies, but he still has a troublesome 5.31 ERA in eight games for the Saints.

His work during the season is a far cry from what he did over the spring. Down in Fort Myers, Varland had a 0.640 WHIP with 11 strikeouts and zero runs allowed across 11 innings of work until a bad start against the Tigers.

Minnesota is hoping to see more of the Varland we saw earlier in Spring Training, and not the one who might not get many more opportunities if things go south — again — on Tuesday.

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