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Updated: June 23rd, 2013 4:22pm
Kyle Gibson to make long-awaited MLB debut later this week

Kyle Gibson to make long-awaited MLB debut later this week

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Twins announced Sunday that Kyle Gibson will make his long-awaited major league debut on Saturday at Target Field against the Kansas City Royals. 

Finally.

Gibson will officially be recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, taking the roster spot of Pedro Hernandez, who was summoned as an emergency starter on Sunday when Mike Pelfrey came down with back soreness.

Gibson owns a 3.01 ERA with 79 strikeouts and only 28 walks in 92 2/3 innings for Rochester. He also has allowed only 78 hits and four home runs while inducing 55% groundballs.

Gibson's path to the big leagues has been a long, winding one. After being drafted 22nd overall in 2009, Gibson cruised up the ladder in 2010 from High-A Fort Myers to Triple-A Rochester, posting a 2.96 combined ERA with 126 strikeouts in 152 innings. 

The stage was set for Gibson to compete for a spot on the 25-man roster during spring training of 2011. Gibson impressed manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson, but he was sent down to Triple-A Rochester for what most people assumed would be a short stint in the minors. 

Instead, Gibson struggled then came down with an elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery, thus wiping out the second half of his 2011 season and nearly all of 2012. 

Prior to this season, general manager Terry Ryan said the team would likely limit Gibson's innings to 130 or 140, so as to not put too much strain on his surgically-repaired elbow. It is believed the Twins could be flexible with that limit, but even if they are it's likely Gibson won't pitch much beyond early- to mid-August. 

Gibson's debut will come on eight days rest. He threw 106 pitches over seven innings in his last Triple-A start, holding Scranton Wilkes-Barre to one unearned run. Gibson has allowed three runs or fewer in 11 of his 15 starts for Rochester, and he has gone at least six innings 10 times. 

And with Gibson remaining in the minors through most of April, May and June, it's likely he will not reach Super-2 arbitration status, which could save the Twins millions down the road. 

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Ron Gardenhire, Mike Pelfrey
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