Dean makes MLB debut with emotions flowing

Twins lefty comes out of 'pen to toss 2 2/3 innings, strikes out three

Dean makes MLB debut with emotions flowing

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said before Wednesday's game against the Orioles that it would take a short outing from one of his starters for lefty Pat Dean to see his first Major League action.

It happened sooner than Molitor wanted, as right-hander Phil Hughes allowed five runs over four innings, allowing Dean to make his big league debut in Minnesota's 9-2 loss at Target Field. The lefty, who was called up from Triple-A Rochester on Saturday, went 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

"I'm glad to get him out there," Molitor said. "It's hard to measure a guy's nerves when he gets an opportunity. He's known as a strike-thrower and he didn't have the best command today. But he got through a couple, and we'll see how we'll use him going forward."

It was the first action for Dean since he went six strong innings with Rochester on May 4 and his first relief appearance since pitching in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2010 after being drafted by the Twins in the third round of that year's Draft.

"I don't know if I could prepare myself for the kind of feelings I had out there," Dean said. "I got a feel for what was going on in the bullpen and had a feeling I would be coming in. Once I got out there, it really set in what was going on. A lot of emotions were going on, but I'm just happy I threw my first pitch for a strike."

Dean, who turns 27 on May 25, earned the promotion after posting a 2.72 ERA in 39 starts with Rochester over the last three seasons. He said fastball command was the key to his success in the Minors, but that he struggled with it in his debut. Dean threw 31 fastballs, averaging roughly 90 mph, with 19 going for strikes. He got three swings and misses in his debut, but all came on his 85-mph slider.

"I think the nerves kicked in and I was trying to do too much," Dean said. "Looking back, I wasn't pleased with my fastball location. Today was pretty erratic."

Considering it was his debut, it's understandable Dean dealt with nerves, but he said it'll be important to adjust his routine to get used to pitching in relief. He said his prior relief appearances in the Minors and Spring Training came in planned innings, while this was the first time he really pitched in relief without knowing when he was coming into a game since his freshman year at Boston College in 2008.

"I think the biggest difference is getting ready to get into the game," Dean said. "As a starter, you have a routine and you can take as many warmup pitches as you want. This one, it's, 'All right, you ready?' But luckily I didn't need many warmup pitches. The adrenaline was flowing."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.