Notebook: Twins' Andrew Albers getting time to adjust before MLB debut
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Andrew Albers arrived at Target Field just minutes before his Minnesota Twins teammates were set to take the field for batting practice prior to Saturday evening's game.
The Twins are taking a similar approach with Albers, who is slated to start Tuesday in Kansas City, as they did with Kyle Gibson, whom the club promoted well in advance of his debut to help him acclimate to big league life.
It was quite a whirlwind turnaround for Albers, who rode back from Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Pa.) on a four-and-a-half hour trip that put him in Rochester around 4 a.m. That left Albers little time to pack and catch an 8 am flight to Chicago that never materialized. Nevertheless, after a surprise trip through Detroit, Albers found himself meeting with traveling secretary Mike Herman right around 3:30 pm to get all squared away in his first time at Target Field.
Albers has never been a top prospect, but manager Ron Gardenhire has seen and heard enough about the Canadian left-hander both from reports and second-hand stories to know what the club is getting into.
"Guys that know him around here say he's a competitor," Gardenhire said. "Great guy for the clubhouse. He doesn't have a lot of velocity, but really knows how to pitch. He can cut the ball, and can pitch in hard even without a lot of velocity. He's had a heck of a year down there. He's pitched very well and is very deserving."
Albers was 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA and 7.9 strikeouts per 9 innings at Rochester.
Albers found out about the call Friday night, and like all first-time big leaguers had a few calls of his own to make.
"The first call I made was to my folks, and they weren't home," Albers said. "So that went well. I didn't leave a message because I figured that was inappropriate."
The marriage between the Twins and Albers was an unlikely one. Albers was released by the Padres before the 2010 season, and had played Independent Ball for a year before finding the market for his services was a bit frigid.
"I had a few tryouts lined up in Arizona just before spring training," Albers said. "Before heading out there, I asked (Kentucky head coach) Gary Henderson if I could come (from British Columbia) and throw some bullpens and maybe to hitters there in Lexington. A couple Twins guys came out and saw me there. The open tryouts didn't work out, so I called the Twins back, traveled across the country and got to throw for some of the higher-ups, and they gave me an invite to spring training. I pitched well enough in spring training that they kept me around, and I've been plugging away ever since."
• Shortstop Pedro Florimon was scratched from Saturday's game with some left wrist soreness. Florimon suffered the injury, which only affected his right-handed swing, in batting practice Saturday. In fact, general manager Terry Ryan said he suspected that if the Astros were throwing a right-hander instead of left-handed veteran Erik Bedard, that Florimon would have played.
Florimon can be considered day-to-day. Doug Bernier replaced Florimon in the lineup at shortstop and ninth in the batting order.
• Double-A top prospect Miguel Sano missed his second-straight game Saturday night with a hamstring issue, and may not be ready to play on Sunday either. The injury is not believed to be too serious.
• High-A outfielder Byron Buxton hasn't played since July 29 after having a toenail removed. Twins Vice President of Personnel Mike Radcliff told 1500ESPN that it's not too much of a worry. In the interim, rehabbing outfielder Darin Mastroianni will play center field for the Miracle.
• Once Josh Willingham's rehab stint starts at Triple-A -- Monday in Raleigh against the Durham Bulls -- it's quite likely that the Red Wings will employ an outfield of he, Aaron Hicks, and Chris Parmelee.
Or in other words, the outfield the Twins employed on opening day at Target Field.
• Speaking of Hicks, he reported directly to Rochester upon his demotion, rather than joining his teammates in the series finale versus the Iron Pigs. According to Ryan, that was so he could get his affairs in order, as well as not having to hurry out onto the road for just a single game.
Hicks started in center and batted fifth for the Red Wings on Saturday night.
• It looks as though Liam Hendriks could be the choice to be the 26th man and start one game of the Friday night doubleheader at U.S. Cellular against the Chicago White Sox. Other 40-man candidates would include Cole De Vries, Vance Worley, and Pedro Hernandez, but all three are on the shelf right now with injuries.