Twins Bullpen Preview.

Today, I’m doing the second blog in a series where we’ll take a look at the Twins roster. The bullpen will certainly have a different look after the departures of relievers Jessie Crain, Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch. This season will be the year that several young arms in the organization step up to fill the void.
The key is how will closer Joe Nathan respond after not pitching all of last yaear when he suffered an elbow injury and underwent Tommy Jon surgery. It usually takes at least a year maybe even more to recover from such an injury.
However, if Nathan isn’t close to his old form, Matt Capps will be the closer. Capps had 42 Saves between Washington and Minnesota last season. If Nathan is the closer, Capps will be the set up man.
Another lock for the bullpen is lefty Jose Mijares who had a 3.31 ERA last season and led the team’s left handed relievers with 47 appearances. It is expected that he will be the main lefty out of the bullpen.
And depending on who is in the starting rotation, either righty Nick Blacburn or Brian Duensing will be in the pen as a long reliever. If duensing is in the pen, it would be another lefty option for Manager Ron Gardenhire. Scott Diamond, who was acquired from the Atlanta Blaves organization in the Rule 5 draft last December will be another possible reliever. If the Twins don’t keep him on the Major League roster, he has to be offered back to the Braves.
Other possible relievers in the pen could include Jeff Manship who could also be a spot starter. Lefty Glen Perkins who needs to prove himself this year. Pat Meshek who had a shaky season last year after having a torn UCL in 2008 which kept him out the 2009 season as well. He was sent to Rochester for part of the season. Alex Burnett who pitched well for a couple months of the season and was sent down to Rochester. Rob Delainey and Anthony Slama will also be factors this season. It is expected that Kyle Gibson could be making his Major League debut this upcoming season as well.
As for who will be in the bullpen this upcoming season, it will all be sorted out during spring training. Another thing to watch for is the Twins could land another veteran reliever before the season starts. They’ve been known to sign free agents close to spring training.

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2 Responses to Twins Bullpen Preview.

  1. Aj Mansour says:

    I really think that Alex Burnett will take a big step in the right direction this year! Duensing at least earned a shot at being in the starting rotation and should start the year there opening up more room for Burnett and Neshek to get those late innings. Do you think that Capps or Nathan should be the closer? I’d like to give Capps another shot and see how Nathan returns from surgery. I guess we’ll just wait to see and find out when the season starts!

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