Minnesota Twins 2012 Bullpen, Who's in and Who's Out?
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The Minnesota Twins bullpen picture is starting to come together. With two players guaranteed spots in the pen this year and one who is as close to a guarantee as you can have, there are only four available places to fill.
Matt Capps is currently penciled in as the closer with Glen Perkins slated to be his setup man. Brian Duensing appears to have a spot as a long reliever with the ability to make spot starts as needed.
That leaves eight players competing for the final four spots, but Terry Doyle, who the Twins picked up in the Rule-5 draft this year, also has to be in consideration for a bullpen spot as he has very little chance of breaking into the starting rotation. So the Twins would not have to work out a trade to keep him.
Considering that makes 10 players for the four spots, the competition is very stiff this year.
As for left-handed relievers in camp that have a shot in the bullpen, there are three.
Phil Dumatrait, who pitched with the Twins last season is a non-roster invite to camp and has been looking stellar so far this spring. He has a 2.25 ERA, having given up two runs, one of which was earned while allowing five hits, walking one and striking out three over four innings pitched.
Matt Maloney, whom the Twins selected off of waivers from the Cincinnati Reds back in October, is making an excellent case to be a left-handed specialist out of the pen. Through 5.1 innings pitched he has allowed only three hits, walked one, struck out eight and given up no runs.
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Tyler Robertson rounds out the lefties with a shot at the pen, having worked three innings allowing five hits, one run (earned), walking none and striking out four.
Considering that Glen Perkins is left-handed it is realistic to think the Twins will only break camp with one of the other three lefties on the 25 man roster. Right now, the job appears to be Maloney's to lose.
As for the right-handed relievers there are five competing for the remaining three bullpen spots.
Jason Bulger has only pitched two innings this spring and has struggled both times out and has most likely already lost any chance at hoping to break camp with the Twins.
Alex Burnett has also struggled in his 2.2 innings of work this spring, allowing five earned runs and giving up eight hits. He has also most likely pitched himself out of the competition.
Jared Burton, who signed with the Twins as a free agent this offseason, is putting together a very impressive spring training. He has worked four innings, allowing no hits, one walk and striking out four. If any of the right-handed relievers appear to be in line for a spot, Burton is one of them.
Jeff Gray has worked one inning so far this spring, giving up two hits and two runs (none earned), walking one and striking out none. He appears to have an outside shot at making the pen, but it would take some very impressive work over his next couple outings to have a real shot.
Which left-handed reliever will break camp with the Twins?
Liam Hendriks, who started four games for the Twins late last season, has looked good in four innings of work this spring. He has given up five hits, one walk and struck out five while not allowing any runs. He certainly has a shot at making the team and he also has the ability of making spot starts, which would give the Twins a left-handed and right-handed spot starter in the pen if they were needed. With how many injuries the Twins suffered last season, it certainly could be appealing to Manager Ron Gardenhire to have that as an option.
Jeff Manship broke camp with the Twins last season but was quickly sent to the minors when he struggled. In 3.1 innings so far this spring he has given up one earned run on two hits, walking none and striking out five. The earned run he allowed was on a home run.
The Twins bullpen when they break camp this year will most likely consist of Brian Duensing, Liam Hendriks, Jeff Manship, Jared Burton, Matt Maloney, Glen Perkins, and Matt Capps.
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