Wimmers' Long Road Finally Leads To Big Leagues
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs (photo of Alex Wimmers)Wimmers showed up to minor league spring training in 2011, but something clearly wasn't right. He wasn't able to throw strikes, at all. In his first start, Wimmers walked the first six batters he faced before being removed from the game. He was essentially shut down, sent to extended spring training, and started from scratch.
He came back in mid-July, working out of the Miracle bullpen. The problem appeared to be corrected. He ended the season with two starts. In his final start, he threw a seven-inning no-hitter for the Miracle.
Again, hope was high. Wimmers was set to start the 2012 season in AA New Britain. He made his first start, and then he didn't start again that year. In fact, he lost his season, and the 2013 season, to Tommy John surgery.
He returned to the Miracle to start the 2014 season. He primarily pitched out of the bullpen, though he made some starts. He struggled.
In 2015, he moved up to AA Chattanooga to start the season. He struggled in 18 starts, but he ended the season posting a 2.91 ERA in 12 relief appearances.
The bullpen is where he has pitched through the 2016 season. He posted a 6.43 ERA in six games (7 IP) for Chattanooga to start the season but was promoted to Rochester. He struggled for about a week, but since the end of May, he has really taken to the bullpen job.
He's worked two innings a handful of times, but for the most part, he's pitched one inning at a time. And manager Mike Quade isn't afraid to use him late in games. Wimmers has responded well. In fact, he's recorded 11 saves in 12 save opportunities with the Red Wings. IN 49.2 innings, he's walked 24, but he's struck out 50.
And after pitching an inning to complete another Red Wings win in Norfolk on Thursday afternoon, Wimmers got The Call he'd dreamed about.
I'd imagine that Wimmers got off the phone, and after likely loud cheers from his teammates, he had to have spent a few moments reminiscing about the long trek that the minor league career has taken. I'm sure he thought about those low points. I'm guessing he thought about the times when he certainly wondered what he would do next. Every minor leaguer likely experiences that discussion in their minds, but then imagine the pride he and his family must have upon receiving that phone call.
The 27-year-old became a father for the first time earlier this summer. I would imagine that that event, as well as his wedding day, were great moments of pride for Alex Wimmers and his family. I would imagine that today, August 25th, 2016, is another day that the Wimmers family will never forget.
While it's disappointing for Twins fans that Berrios and Duffey needed to be sent back to Rochester, there can't be a single Twins fan that doesn't feel really good for Alex Wimmers getting that phone call.
Even more important, Wimmers isn't just getting The Call, he has earned this opportunity.
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