The elbow tightness that hampered righty Ricky Nolasco throughout Sunday's two-inning performance against the New York Yankees could be more serious than originally thought.
Nolasco met with manager Ron Gardenhire before Monday's game at Seattle, at which time the Twins decided to send him back to Minnesota for a Tuesday check-up with team doctors.
The St. Paul Pioneer-Press reported that Nolasco had been battling elbow soreness since spring training but that he had battled through the discomfort without saying much to the team.
Nolasco's 5-7 record and 5.90 ERA are nowhere near what the Twins expected when they signed the 31-year-old starter to a four-year contract worth a franchise-record $49 million in the offseason. He was coming off a 2013 season that included a 13-11 record and a 3.70 ERA with the Marlins and Dodgers.
"Velocity was down," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony told The Minneapolis Star Tribune on Monday. "He hasn't been as effective with his pitches. He hasn't had the same command that he's had. Basically, everything he's done this year is nothing like the reports we had, or he's not pitching the same way he did last year."
Nolasco's next scheduled start would be Friday, but the results of the upcoming medical tests could put that appearance in jeopardy. Nolasco has been a dependable starter during his career, having made at least 26 starts in each of the past six seasons.