By La Velle
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Glen Perkins had his best changeup of his three starts on Tuesday as he navigated through a pretty good Rangers lineup.
What impressed me was that Perkins changed speeds from the first batter of the game until he was removed with one out in the seventh inning to rousing applause. He moved the ball around the plate, and Gardenhire was very pleased that Perkins pitched inside to keep hitters honest.
Perkins has pitched 23 games out of the bullpen since debuting in 2006, but in his three appearances as a starter we’re getting a better idea of what he can do – and Twins fans have to be encouraged that Perkins looks focused and determined to establish himself. The Twins have had many internal debates about Perkins and if he’s a starter or a reliever – and there are varying opinions.
Last year was really a lost season for him because of the muscle problem near his shoulder. Perkins talked at length during spring training about how he wouldn’t mind being in the bullpen, where he could impact a game more often. I think he just really wanted to break camp with the team and was willing to take on any role.
He took it hard when the Twins cut him from camp, reasoning that he deserved to start more minor league games. But he really needed to face batters and get sharp after pitching just 28 innings last season.
“I think they had a plan,” Perkins said. “They laid it out for me when I was there (spring training) and I didn’t really believe them. I didn’t want to believe them. It’s nice to be and be helping out the team.”
I think Perkins should be a starter. He’s got three pitches and there’s something deceptive about his delivery – the Twins compare him to Jarrod Washburn. Perkins agrees. He used a late-game encounter with Michael Young as an example.
Perkins threw a first pitch fastball right down the middle of the plate – not where he wanted – but Young could only foul it off.
“It gives you confidence when you can throw a pitch not where you want to and a good hitter like that – an All-Star hitter – fouls it off,” Perkins said. “You know you are doing something right, that you are getting that movement or deception.”
Perk as a reliever? Not on it. Let’s see what he can do as a starter first.
Span update: The Twins now hope Denard Span will miss just three weeks after he suffered a broken finger on his left hand on Tuesday when he was hit with a pitch while trying to bunt in the ninth inning. Span eventually lined out in the at-bat but came out of the game because his finger was bleeding.
Champions League: I have Chelsea over Man U in today’s final. What say you?
Joe C.: Joe will handle the team over the next few days while I head to Chicago to attend my sister’s college graduation. I see the Angels are in town to play the White Sox. May have to stop by….