An outstanding finish in 2014 helped TJ House gain an edge on a rotation spot this spring, but now he's looking to regroup following an unsettling season debut for the Cleveland Indians.
The left-hander will try to continue his success against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday at Target Field.
House began to stake his claim for a 2015 rotation slot with a strong showing last August and September. He went 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA over his last five starts and Cleveland (4-6) won his final seven outings.
House, however, looked like a completely different pitcher last Sunday when he only recorded four outs in an 8-5 home loss to Detroit. He allowed six runs and six hits while yielding three walks.
"TJ's got to throw strikes and throw strikes down and work ahead," manager Terry Francona told MLB's official website.
House will try to regain last year's form with another solid performance versus Minnesota (4-7). He's surrendered just two runs with 18 strikeouts over 17 1-3 innings in winning his last three meetings.
Kurt Suzuki went 3 for 4 with a double against House last year, while Brian Dozier was 4 for 10 with a double. Joe Mauer and Kennys Vargas did not fare as well in the matchup, going a combined 2 for 14.
Suzuki hit his second home run in as many games and Mauer and Eduardo Nunez added two hits apiece in Saturday's 4-2 loss that snapped a three-game winning streak and dropped the Twins to 3-2 on the homestand.
Trevor Plouffe, who is batting just 5 for 35 (.143) with two homers, is expected to be in the lineup after getting his first day off. The third baseman delivered a walk-off, 11th-inning home run in Friday's series-opening 3-2 win.
''We were joking about that,'' manager Paul Molitor said. ''If you hit a game-winning homer, you have to sit the next day.''
With Ervin Santana serving an 80-game suspension for PED use and Ricky Nolasco on the disabled list with an elbow strain, Trevor May is looking to make the most of an opportunity in the rotation.
The right-hander wasn't hit hard in his season debut, though he didn't get much help from the Twins' shoddy defense in a 12-3 home loss to Kansas City on Monday. He gave up five runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings.
May has struggled at Target Field with a 1-4 record and an 8.28 ERA in five career starts. One of those outings came versus Cleveland on Sept. 20, when he surrendered seven runs over 4 2-3 innings in a 7-3 defeat.
May had limited the Indians to two runs in five innings in a 4-3 road win Sept. 9.
Yan Gomes went 3 for 4 with a home run and five RBIs against May in those meetings, but he's sidelined with a moderate right MCL sprain. Roberto Perez filled in nicely Saturday, going 3 for 4 with his second home run - an estimated 435-foot shot.
Jason Kipnis put an end to his 0-for-16 slide with a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning. The 2013 All-Star second baseman doubled and walked in his only two plate appearances against May.