FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was just an exhibition game to open Spring Training for the Twins, but for closer Glen Perkins it was a memorable experience, as he got to face off against his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.
Perkins, who was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft after two seasons at Minnesota, entered in the third inning and made quick work, throwing a perfect inning on just eight pitches. The outing helped him accomplish his goal of not letting any Gophers have anything to brag about back home.
"That was by design -- like I've said before, I didn't want to give them a story," Perkins said with a laugh. "But it was fun. I just wanted to make sure I did well, and it worked out."
Perkins was also excited to see his former coaches, including head coach John Anderson, who is in his 34th season with the program.
Once Perkins found out the Twins were facing the Gophers, he asked manager Paul Molitor, who also played at the University of Minnesota, if he could pitch.
"It was an opportunity ... that I wasn't going to pass up," Perkins said. "It was fun to see all the coaches and everybody I know. I wanted to execute pitches, and I did. I missed a couple of fastballs, but that's expected, so other than that, it was fine."
It was also the first Spring Training game for Molitor as the manager of the Twins, and it came against Anderson, his teammate with the Gophers. That made it even more special for Molitor, who played at Minnesota from 1975-77.
The Twins are scheduled to keep the tradition alive by playing the Gophers every other year in Spring Training, alternating with Florida Gulf Coast University.
"It was a lot of fun," Molitor said. "There was a lot of things that were maybe out of the norm with the Gophers being here, and John. He's handled that program so well. To think of where he came from and how it all unfolded, it's incredible. So it was great to be able to spend some time with him today."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.