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Updated: January 17th, 2011 3:43pm
Twins watch two more relievers walk; Rauch to Jays, Fuentes to A's

Twins watch two more relievers walk; Rauch to Jays, Fuentes to A's

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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After recently watching Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier flee to the White Sox and Dodgers, respectively, the Minnesota Twins saw two more key bullpen pieces land jobs in other cities on Monday.

According to multiple reports, right-hander Jon Rauch has signed a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, and left-hander Brian Fuentes agreed on a two-year deal with the Oakland Athletics.

Fuentes, 35, joined the Twins in late-August and missed several games with back troubles. When he did pitch, however, he did not allow a run -- 9.2 innings, eight strikeouts, two walks and only three hits given up.

Rauch, 32, took over as closer to start the season after Joe Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery. He pitched 57 2/3 innings, posting a 3.12 ERA and career-best 2.94 FIP with 46 strikeouts, 14 walks and 21 saves.

The Twins continue to kick the tires on potential free-agent relief help, but as of right now right-hander Matt Capps and left-hander Jose Mijares are the only pillars in the bullpen.

Beyond that, general manager Bill Smith and company will look toward Nathan to be serviceable in his first year following surgery, and Pat Neshek to return to form two years after his Tommy John operation.

Alex Burnett, Anthony Slama, Glen Perkins, Eric Hacker, Jim Hoey, Scott Diamond, Rob Delaney, Jeff Manship, Chuck James and possibly others will fight for bullpen spots during spring training.

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
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