The Twins play 76 games against AL Central foes, so they will quickly become familiar faces. But each team has someone who’s familiar already to Twins fans. A quick rundown:
Indians: After the Twins traded closer Brandon Kintzler, Matt Belisle saved nine games in 11 chances down the stretch last year. The Twins let him walk away at season’s end, and after signing a minor league deal, Belisle earned a spot in the Cleveland bullpen. The righthander has pitched three scoreless innings, retiring nine of 11 batters.
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Royals: Another veteran who quietly did good work for one year (2015) in the Twins bullpen, Blaine Boyer is now on his fifth team in five seasons. This time it’s Kansas City, where Boyer — whose performance slipped (4.35 ERA) with Boston in 2017 — gave up runs in each of his first two games before pitching around a hit and a walk in a scoreless inning Saturday.
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Tigers: Most of the ex-Twins are in the dugout, where Ron Gardenhire hired Minnesota alumni Rick Anderson, Steve Liddle and Joe Vavra for his coaching staff. But Niko Goodrum, the Twins’ second-round draftee in 2010 who went 1-for-17 in a September callup last year, made the Tigers as a utility infielder after a strong spring.
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White Sox: After going 0-6 with a 9.67 ERA in a seven-start stretch last year, then publicly questioning his removal by manager Paul Molitor in July, lefthander Hector Santiago never pitched for the Twins again. He has resurrected his career as a long reliever in Chicago, where he pitched from 2011 to ’13.