CLEVELAND — As was the case with Brusdar Graterol, there was some question as to how to say Jorge Alcala’s name correctly. Those inclined to follow the Minnesota Twins prospects have seen his name in minor league reports, and others have seen it on the Target Field big board when they’re broadcasting his successes in Double- and Triple-A.
It’s “all-call-ah” with stress on the last syllable.
Acquired in the trade that sent Ryan Pressly to the Houston Astros, Alcala was considered to be on a similar track to Graterol, but did not initially get called up by the Twins in September.
“He’s a young pitcher who has never thrown into late September,” said Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey in Boston.
“We got him used to the Triple-A ball at the end of the year, we got him used to pitching out of the ‘pen at the end of the year, so we definitely factored him into the conversation. But we felt at this point the best thing to do was kind of get him ready for his offseason program.”
Circumstances have changed, however, and with the bullpen being asked to cover 18 innings in Saturday’s doubleheader and Sam Dyson’s biceps injury threatening to end his season, Alcala was flown in from Fort Myers on Saturday.
“I didn’t know how to act when I got the call. I was very happy,” said Alcala, who was surprised to get the call up and immediately dialed his mother to let her know. “I’m not sure how it’s going to be when I go out there, but it’s the same mound, same distance, and we’ll take it from there.”
The Twins asked Alcala, who is from the Dominican Republic, to remain in Fort Myers to throw bullpens and stay in shape, just in case they needed him. They also converted him from a starter to a reliever after 16 starts at Double-A, and he did not give up a run in 7.2 innings in Triple-A this season.
“I know our player development guys really do like him,” said Baldelli. “It’s something that makes you feel good, and also knowing that he’s been in shape and he’s been taking care of himself and throwing.”
Minnesota DFA’d Marcos Diplan, who they acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers at the deadline, in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Alcala. His call up was also necessitated by Dyson’s biceps injury, which might end his season.
“I tried throwing yesterday. It lasted two throws and I shut it down,” said Dyson. “The hardest part is not being able to compete.”
He underwent an MRI Arthrogram, which revealed that he may have a joint capsule strain. He will see Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles a week from Monday, and may have to have surgery.
“It’s a possibility that something like that might need to be done,” said Twins head athletic trainer Tony Leo. “But that’s why we’re going out there, to use his expertise to help us with this case.”
While a healthy Dyson would be valuable to Minnesota, his injury has created an opportunity for Alcala to get a call up. And, perhaps, for everyone to learn his name.