In 2009, Brandon Kinztler was with the St. Paul Saints, looking for a way back into a major league farm system. He started the American Association All-Star Game that year before signing with the Brewers.
On Friday, Kintzler was having breakfast with his family, when he learned he had made another All-Star team. Twins manager Paul Molitor called, telling his closer he had been added to the American League roster.
“I thought something bad might be happening,” Kintzler said. “When the manager’s calling, it’s usually not a good thing. I thought I was getting traded or something.”
Kintzler, one of seven fill-ins announced Friday, had just plunked down a rental deposit on a cabin on Gull Lake, where he planned to spend next week’s four-day break with his family. That money might go to waste, since the group is heading to Miami for the All-Star festivities.
Kintzler earned his 24th save Friday night in the Twins’ 9-6 comeback victory over Baltimore, moving him one save ahead of Tampa Bay’s Alex Colome and Boston’s Craig Kimbrel for the AL lead. Kintzler has converted all but three chances, posting a 2.29 ERA over 39 games.
Kintzler joins teammates Miguel Sano and Ervin Santana on the AL roster. The last time the Twins had three All-Stars, they sent Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan to St. Louis in 2009 — the same year Kintzler was with the Saints.
“You could feel the emotion on the other end of the phone,” Molitor said of his call with Kintzler. “It was almost like he couldn’t believe that he was getting the call after everything he’s endured.”