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Updated: April 18th, 2010 2:31pm
Twins' reliever Alex Burnett is a travelin' man

Twins' reliever Alex Burnett is a travelin' man

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- If Ricky Nelson is a "Travelin' Man," what does that make Twins' 22-year-old relief pitching prospect Alex Burnett?

Burnett, a 12th-round pick in the 2005 draft and a converted starter, is one of the Twins' top relief pitching prospects. The right-hander began the season on the 25-man roster because of injuries to relievers Joe Nathan and Clay Condrey.

Burnett made his major league debut on April 8 in Los Angeles against the Angels. He pitched a clean inning, striking out one and inducing two fly outs. Burnett pitched again at Target Field on April 14 against the Red Sox, allowing two hits while striking out two in 1 1/3 innings.

After that game, the Twins recalled left-hander Ron Mahay and optioned Burnett down to class-AAA Rochester, where he spent three days with the minor league affiliate, but never had the opportunity to pitch. Friday night's game between Rochester and Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pennsylvania was rained out, and Burnett did not pitch in Saturday night's contest against Pawtucket in Rochester, New York.

Burnett still has never pitched at class-AAA. He has, however, done a ridiculous amount of traveling.

Since the spring of 2009, Burnett has spent time with four different teams in the Twins organization -- class-A Fort Myers, class-AA New Britain, class-AAA Rochester, and the big league squad.

"All airplane, all the time," Burnett said, as he took time before today's game to relax in the Twins clubhouse. "My bags are like the most unorganized things I've ever seen. I'm just getting stuff [packed], and saying, ‘alright, now I have to hurry up and go.' I throw everything in bags. I don't even know where all my stuff is."

Burnett arrived back in Minneapolis this morning, and he's essentially been living out of a suitcase for months.

"I haven't been anywhere long enough to actually get a place to live."

The Twins have temporarily put Burnett in a downtown, Minneapolis hotel. He doesn't have a car, and it probably doesn't make much sense for him to settle in because he isn't guaranteed to be on the 25-man roster all season.

"I don't have time to do anything, settle down anywhere," Burnett said. "I'm just taking a cab from where I'm at, come [into the clubhouse], then when I go back I get a ride from somebody here."

It's probably a good thing Burnett doesn't have time to settle down. Maybe that'll make things easier as he's being thrown back into the MLB fire.

Update (3:19 p.m.): Burnett relieved Carl Pavano in the fourth inning today, and he pitched 2 2/3 innings, striking out two while allowing zero runs and two hits.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd