Kyle Gibson's goal is 'to get to the big leagues as fast as I can'
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Whether the Minnesota Twins wind up signing free agent starter Joe Saunders or not, the starting rotation will have more applicants than positions.
Scott Diamond, Vance Worley and Kevin Correia appear to be virtual locks, assuming Diamond and Worley bounce back from their minor arm surgeries. The Twins also expect Mike Pelfrey (Tommy John surgery) to be ready at or near the beginning of the regular season.
That leaves Liam Hendriks and Kyle Gibson, among others, to fight for whatever openings might be left.
For Gibson, the Twins have discussed a limit of 130-140 innings this season as the 25-year-old right-hander continues to make his way back from 2011 Tommy John surgery. Gibson -- the Twins' first-round draft pick out of Missouri in 2009 -- threw 75 innings between the minor league regular season and the Arizona Fall League.
The question is, how will the Twins and Gibson utilize those 130 innings?
"I know my first year (in the minor leagues) I threw like (152) innings and I was done by August 15, so I don't really know," Gibson said. "I think the Twins will probably come up with a pretty good plan. They've seen a lot of situations and how they've played out, so I would like to think... I would like to throw the whole year, obviously, because that's just how competitive I am, but they're going to come up with a plan, and I'm just going to trust in that plan."
General manager Terry Ryan said earlier this offseason the Twins monitored how the Atlanta Braves handled right-hander Kris Medlen, who, coming off Tommy John surgery, pitched out of the bullpen for the first four months of the season before moving to the rotation on July 31.
Medlen proceeded to go 9-0 in 12 starts, posting a 0.97 ERA. He finished the season with 138 innings.
Medlen had worked out of the bullpen quite a bit in previous years. Gibson really hasn't, but that wouldn't stop him from doing so in 2013, although the Twins would prefer to keep him in a starter role.
"I'm open to pitching wherever they want me to pitch, honestly," Gibson said. "My goal is just to get to the big leagues as fast as I can, and if that's as a reliever or as a starter... so be it."