While Joe Mauer will be rejoining the Twins on Monday after a lengthy DL stay, most of the attention will be on a different newcomer: starting pitcher Tommy Milone.
The Twins traded outfielder Sam Fuld for Milone at the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31, and the lefty has yet to make his big league debut for his new club.
Milone, whose season numbers (6-3, 3.55 ERA) rival those of any current Minnesota starter, was demoted in Oakland after general manager Billy Beane stacked the rotation with trades for Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel and Jon Lester.
Still just 27, he looks like a steal for the Twins.
"He's a guy who knows how to pitch in the big leagues and has a good track record," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're excited to have him up here. He pitched well in his start at Triple-A."
Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki caught Milone for multiple years in Oakland, and the two work well together. In fact, Milone has a lower career ERA (2.99) with Suzuki than any other catcher.
"I loved it," Suzuki said. "I've had some pretty good success with him as a teammate. The one thing I told them was how great a guy he was. He works hard. He does everything the right way."
Houston will counter with Brad Peacock, who is 0-3 with a 16.00 ERA in his last three starts. He's given up 15 runs on 14 hits in 8 2/3 innings in his previous two starts, both on the road -- July 23 at Oakland and Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Peacock's problem has been fastball command.
"I felt good in the those last couple of innings [Wednesday] and felt good my last bullpen, and I want to carry it into the game," he said. "Hopefully the next time around I can start putting together a strong of good starts."
The 26-year-old righty needs to get back to the way he pitched in his first 11 starts this season, when he went 2-3 but posted a much more impressive 3.71 ERA.
"I need to go out there and relax and have fun and pitch instead of being anxious out there," Peacock said.
Twins: Mauer will be back with the team in Houston
Minnesota's $184 million man is finally back with the big league club.
Mauer hurt his right oblique on July 1 and has since been on the disabled list. But he put in a weeklong rehab assignment at Class A Cedar Rapids, and he's ready to get back to the form he displayed just before the injury.
He went 2-for-4 on Saturday while playing nine innings at first base for a second straight game. Mauer hit .400 (6-for-15) in four games with Cedar Rapids and wasn't in the lineup on Sunday, as he was traveling to Houston.
Before his injury, the former All-Star had a 12-game hitting streak going, during which he posted a .362 average with 12 RBIs.
Those numbers helped bump up career lows in batting average (.271) and on-base percentage (.342), but he still has a lot of work to do to get above his previous lows (.287 and .360, respectively).
Astros: Foltynewicz throwing more than heat
Rookie right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who touched 100 mph on the radar gun on a couple of pitches in one inning Saturday against the Rangers, has been impressing manager Bo Porter with some of his breaking balls more than his heat.
"I think every time he gets on the mound, the game will start to slow down more and more," Porter said. "You see the plus [velocity]. I was happy to see him mix in some breaking balls early. I felt like the last time he went power, power, power, and when he really needed his breaking ball he didn't have a feel for it. It was good to see him spin his breaking ball early and we all know he has a swing-and-miss fastball."
Foltynewicz came up as a starter and figures to battle for a spot in the rotation next year, but the Astros want him to get his feet wet at the Major League level and work on his fastball, which is one of the best in the Astros system.
• Milone is currently posting career-bests in hits/nine innings (8.5) and ERA (3.55), but his strikeout rate (5.7/nine innings) is well below last year's number (7.3).
• Peacock has only collected five quality starts in 16 tries this season.