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Updated: March 14th, 2013 9:10am
Struggling to find command, Kyle Gibson optioned to AAA Rochester

Struggling to find command, Kyle Gibson optioned to AAA Rochester

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Twins have apparently decided Kyle Gibson will not be part of the opening-day starting pitching rotation. Gibson was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday morning as part of the Twins' latest round of spring cuts.

Left-hander Caleb Thielbar was also optioned to Triple-A Rochester, and right-hander Anthony Slama and infielder James Beresford were reassigned to minor league camp as well.

Gibson, who is more than 18 months removed from Tommy John elbow surgery, has struggled to find his command this spring. The right-hander walked six in just eight spring innings while allowing eight runs on 13 hits.

"It's not where I want to be," Gibson said about his command earlier this month. "I'm getting closer. I think my first outing I was a little bit better. This outing I feel like I was just trying to do a little bit too much here and there. I was down in the zone, but sometimes that isn't good enough. Sometimes you've got to bring the ball up just a little bit, get them swinging, so they'll swing at those low ones."

The Twins have said they'd like to limit Gibson's innings to somewhere between 130 and 140 this season, but general manager Terry Ryan will not start him in the bullpen to conserve those frames.

With Gibson being optioned and Scott Diamond (elbow) yet to make his spring debut, the door is open for right-hander Liam Hendriks to crack the starting rotation.

The Twins still have 51 players in camp, including 24 pitchers.

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: Scott Diamond, Liam Hendriks
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