Blue Jays ace R.A. Dickey could have trouble harnessing his knuckleball at Target Field against the Twins on Wednesday, as temperatures in Minneapolis are expected to dip as low as 27 degrees with the possibility of snow.
Dickey's pitch is typically more effective in a hot, humid climate. A bitter cold could make the ball difficult to grip and tougher to stop from spinning than usual. The 39-year-old right-hander has never pitched in such frigid temperatures, and he's not exactly sure how the knuckleball will respond.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said playing in the cold isn't ideal, and it makes the game's outcome less predictable.
"Hands start stinging when you're a hitter. It's also tougher to grip the ball and throw it when you're a pitcher so I don't know," said Gibbons. "It's not baseball weather but both teams have to play, someone has to win and lose. Can't let it distract you ... Doesn't usually make for good baseball, I'll tell you that. It turns into almost survival."
Keeping the ball in the park will be a top priority for Dickey and opposing starter Mike Pelfrey. Both pitchers have struggled with home runs early in the 2014 season.
Dickey gave up two costly home runs in his last outing, a 6-4 loss to the Astros on April 10 at home. Pelfrey, meanwhile, has served up four homers in his first two starts the season.
In seven innings against Houston, Dickey (1-2) allowed five runs, all of which came via the long ball. The 35 home runs he surrendered in 2013 were the second-most allowed by any pitcher in the Major Leagues.
Pelfrey carries a 0-2 record and a 7.84 ERA into Wednesday's game. He gave up six runs on nine hits and four walks over five innings against the A's on Thursday, struggling with pitch location in the 6-1 loss.
The Twins are hoping he'll have a bounceback year -- the 30-year-old is a full season removed from Tommy John surgery in 2012. One area of improvement Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has identified for the 6-foot-7, 250-pound right-hander is his pace on the mound.
"We can't throw the ball for him," said Gardenhire. "We can run to the mound as many times as you want to and tell him to throw the ball over the plate: 'Make them swing the bat.' But ultimately it gets to the guy with the ball in his hand. He's got to do that. Pelfrey is a veteran. He's got to know to attack the plate and throw it over. He'll be the first to tell you."
For his part, Pelfrey agrees.
"It's something I always have in my head -- I try to work fast," Pelfrey said. "But if you're walking guys and you have a lot of guys on base, it's tough. But it's something I'll continue to try to get better at."
Twins: Arcia gets cortisone shot in wrist
Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, who is on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 5 with a sprained right wrist, received a cortisone shot in his wrist on Tuesday. Arcia, who originally sustained the injury taking batting practice in the cages during the first series of the year in Chicago, is expected to rest his wrist for the next few days.
"We'll let that settle in for the next couple days and then test it out," said Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. "It's still a little inflamed and a little sore. So hopefully that'll take care of that."
Blue Jays: Reyes could join team by the weekend; Janssen makes first rehab outing
Jose Reyes still appears on track to re-join the Blue Jays in time for their upcoming weekend series in Cleveland.
Reyes played in an extended spring training game in Florida on Monday and was in the lineup for Class A Dunedin Tuesday night. He's expected to appear in at least two official rehab games before the Blue Jays will re-evaluate his situation.
The All-Star shortstop has been out since he suffered a strained hamstring during his first at-bat of the season on March 31. He's eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday.
"That's the plan right now unless he has a little setback," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Tuesday afternoon. "He'll play [Tuesday] and [Wednesday] and then probably travel on Thursday to Cleveland and be ready to go Friday. That's the plan."
Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen also made his first official rehab appearance for Class A Dunedin on Tuesday night. Janssen pitched one scoreless inning and allowed one hit with one strikeout. Janssen is expected to need at least two more appearances in the Minors before returning.
The 32-year-old has been out since he suffered a strained lower back late in Spring Training. Right-hander Sergio Santos has four saves during Janssen's absence.
• Joe Mauer has reached base safely in each of his last 14 games against the Blue Jays after lacing an RBI single in the third inning of Tuesday's game. The streak dates back to Oct. 3, 2010.
• The Twins entered Tuesday leading the American League in walks (59), second in on-base percentage (.340) and third in runs scored (67).
• With his leadoff single in the first inning of Tuesday's game, Melky Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.