Entering his 10th
professional season, itís safe to say that 2012 was the best year in Samuel Dedunoís career. Not only did Deduno end the year in the Minnesota Twins rotation, but he also had the opportunity to pitch for the Dominican Republic, his home country, in the World Baseball Classic.
His career started as a 19-year-old. ďI was 19 years old in the Dominican. I felt very good about getting signed. I knew that if I kept pitching and kept working something good was bound to happen, and it did,Ē says Deduno. He originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the Colorado Rockies in 2003 and was on the road to pursuing his dream of playing in the major leagues.
However, itís safe to say after a successful rookie season in the Frontier League, Deduno's next three seasons in the Rockies system were very forgettable. He compiled a record of 19-25, an ERA of 5.32 and a strikeout to walk ratio of just under 2-to-1. When an arm injury caused him to miss the entire 2008 season, Dedunoís career appeared to be in some serious danger.
After rehabbing his right arm in 2008, something clicked for Deduno in 2009 while pitching for the Rockies Double-A affiliate, the Tulsa Drillers. With a record of 12-4, an ERA of 2.57 and striking out 131 batters in 138.2 innings, it appeared that things were finally starting to turn around for Deduno.
"I give the glory to God, he has given me everything. I was feeling pretty positive about everything, myself and my team."
During the 2011 season, the Rockies released Deduno and after a short stint with the San Diego Padres, Deduno was signed to a minor league contract by the Minnesota Twins at the end of the 2011 season. In nine starts in Rochester last season, he went 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA. His strikeout rate was over one per inning and his strikeout to walk ratio was better than two to one.
In 15 starts in Minnesota, stating it mildly, Deduno had control issues. With a strikeout to walk ratio of one-to-one, an ERA of 4.44, many people questioned if Deduno was going to be back in Minnesota for the 2013 season. In spring training he was competing for the 5th
starter position with the Twins when he decided to represent his country in the World Baseball Classic.
ďThe GM called me and said to expect a call from the Dominican team. I wanted to go and play for my country, and I played pretty good, everything was working, fastball, curveball, change-up.Ē
While some people questioned that decision, the numbers donít lie: he was more dominant in those games than he has ever been in his career. In 13 innings pitched, Deduno struck out 18 batters while walking five. He led the Domincan Republic to victory in the gold medal game over Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, a groin injury has kept him off the mound until recently.
Before a game earlier this week Deduno talked a little bit about how he was recovering from the groin injury he suffered after the WBC. ďIím feeling pretty good, just need to keep throwing and pitching.Ē I then asked him about the opportunity to join the Twins rotation. ďI donít know. I canít control that. When I go to the game I need to work on my game. Itís my job. Iím looking to pitch for a long time. I have to pitch good. I have to throw strikes.Ē
Deduno has started three games so far in 2013 for the Rochester Red Wings, compiling a 0-0 record, with a 2.70 ERA, 17 SO, and 10 BB in 16.2IP.