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Twins option Perkins to Triple-A

Twins option Perkins to Triple-A

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There has long been a division within the Twins organization on whether left-hander Glen Perkins is better suited for a starting job or a relief role.

For now, Perkins will be a starter -- at Triple-A Rochester. The Twins optioned Perkins as their lone cut of camp Sunday.

Perkins, who had been in the running for either a rotation spot or the Twins' long relief role, was 1-2 with a 7.50 ERA in seven spring appearances -- including two starts. He gave up three runs on four hits in the eighth inning of Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Cardinals.

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"We decided that the best thing for him and the ballclub is for him to start stretching out and pitching," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Whether he's going to be a starter or a bullpen guy, it's all irrelevant right now. What we need to do is have him pitch. That's what he is going to do down there -- start. We made that clear."

Perkins pitched a total of just 48 innings last season -- including just 28 2/3 innings at the Major League level -- due to a strained muscle near his left shoulder. Because of Perkins' limited time on the mound, the Twins wanted him to stretch out as a starter this spring even with the uncertainty about his future role.

The decision to send Perkins down now was a combination of some up and down performances, along with the club's feeling that he just needed to get more innings.

Gardenhire said Perkins was a little frustrated by the news, as expected. But the skipper said that's not necessarily a bad thing.

"I want him to go down there and pitch with an attitude," Gardenhire said. "That's OK, too. He's a good pitcher, he has a bright future. But he needs innings, and that was the explanation [to him]."

The decision to have Perkins start at Triple-A also means that the Twins will go with one left-hander out of the bullpen to start the season. Perkins had been the only left-hander remaining in camp other than Dennys Reyes.

In addition to optioning Perkins, who posted a 3.14 ERA in 19 relief appearances last season, the Twins traded outfielder Garrett Guzman to the Washington Nationals in exchange for a player to be named. Guzman had been selected by the Nationals in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft this past December, so now Washington will not have to offer Guzman back to the Twins if it decides not to keep him on its 25-man roster.

There are 34 players left in Twins camp.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["spring_training" ] }