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Article: Twins Minor League Report (7/30): May Day Approa...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 06:20 AM
The Twins were unable to come up with a big hit and ended up falling to the Kansas City Royals 3-2. With the Trade Deadline set for 3:00...
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Should the shift be an illegal defense?

More Baseball Today, 06:14 AM
I hadn't really considered this as a possibility but I'm not really a fan of the IF shift.  Yes, players should have freedom to posi...
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Article: Welcome to the new Twins Daily!

Questions About MinnCentric Today, 06:08 AM
It has been two long months of project outlines, software testing, design, development, testing, and finally… migration.Welcome to the ne...
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Trades Now Please

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:54 AM
You can call this a rant if you want to do so.   1. Kurt Suzuki to the Orioles for either Zach Davies or Brandon Kline.   2. Jo...
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Are The Twins The Unluckiest Team In Baseball?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:51 AM
I posed this question in a column on the SweetSpot blog at ESPN.com today. You can read it here.   Basically, the premise is that wh...
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The Store

Anthony Swarzak As Keystone To The Bullpen

Attached Image: swarzak_anthony_landscape.jpg When word came out following TwinsFest about the injury Anthony Swarzak suffered, it had to be embarrassing. Swarzak suffered a fractured rib after wrestling with some teammates during the Minnesota Twins annual fan festival. He opened the season on the DL and watched the Twins fight the Tigers and the Orioles before he could get on the field.

Swarzak returned to the mound on Sunday [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] and got four big outs for the Twins on their way to a second series win in a row to start the year. He entered in the sixth inning and allowed two hits and a walk along with one strikeout. He was forced to toss a lot of sliders because he didn't have a great feel for his fastball.

It was his first victory of the year and he made the appearance without making any rehab starts in the minor leagues. Swarzak is back and he has a little something to prove.

One of the biggest surprises for the Twins in the first week of the season has been the performance of the pitching staff. There have been positive signs from almost every starting pitcher but only Kevin Correia has pitched seven innings. This leaves the bullpen in charge of getting a lot of outs.

The Twins could be relying heavily on Swarzak during the coming season. The long relief pitcher could be called on for some big outs when the starting staff doesn't make it into the late innings. In recent years, he has even been called on to make a start or two.

Players like Jared Burton, Glen Perkins, and Brian Duensing are going to have important late-inning roles out of the bullpen. It might take a bridge to get from the starting pitcher to those back of the bullpen arms.

That is where Swarzak can make his mark.

As one would expect, his numbers are much better as a relief pitcher versus his time as a starter. For his career, his ERA is 1.19 points lower out of the bullpen. His WHIP is .153 points lower and he has a higher strikeout per nine. Opponent’s batting average against him is 60 points lower when he is used in relief.

Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson know the bullpen is one of the team's strengths in 2013. This could mean a lot of use out of some its more consistent arms. The team has relied on the bullpen to keep their games close so far and that trend will likely continue in the coming weeks.

Swarzak wants the ball as much as possible. "As long as they want me to pitch, I'll pitch," he says."That's always been my attitude here, and that will always be my attitude anywhere. I'm a pitcher before anything else. As long as they want me to have the ball, I'll take the ball."

The Twins might need Swarzak to take the ball a lot this season. It looks like the bullpen is going to be one of the most important parts of the roster and Swarzak could be a key figure for the success of the 2013 Minnesota Twins.


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