The Twins placed Glen Perkins on the disabled list because of a sore left shoulder on April 13, 2016. Perkins would have surgery for a torn labrum in mid-June and pitch only eight more big-league games.
The pitcher recalled to replace Perkins in April was Taylor Rogers, a lefthander and minor league starter. He stayed for only five days and one appearance, then returned to Class AAA Rochester, giving way to lefty relievers Fernando Abad and Ryan O’Rourke.
When Rogers came back to stay on May 18, his starting days were over. Perkins also had been a starter — including 44 with the Twins — before making the transition to the bullpen.
Perkins became a much-used lefty in 2011. It was June 20, 2012, after 175 games in the big leagues, that Perkins, 29, started being used regularly as manager Ron Gardenhire’s closer. He made three All-Star appearances from 2013 to 2015, and was 28-0 in save attempts with a 1.21 ERA at the All-Star break in 2015.
Then came shoulder pain, surgery and the end of a career.
Rogers started this season as the Twins’ lone bullpen lefty and manager Rocco Baldelli tried to give the closer role to Blake Parker. Didn’t work.
On June 2, Rogers became the man for the end of games whenever possible — at 28 and with 220 previous Twins appearances.
“Our career arcs are fairly similar — starter turned reliever, then closer,” Perkins said. “Another similarity I’d say is the lack of emotion. I didn’t show much and Taylor … he finishes one of these big games and you get a little pump of his left hand.
“One difference: They are willing to ask Taylor to get four or five outs now, and then try not to use him the next night. That’s a change from the traditional closer role I was in just four years ago.”
Perkins threw 60% four-seam fastballs, 20% sinkers and 20% sliders. Rogers throws 50% sinkers, and the other 50% sliders and curves.
One lefty closer to another, Perkins offered this bottom line on Rogers: “He’s stinkin’ good.”
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Other notable Twins “lefty” closers:
Eddie Guardado (1993-2003): Fastball, changeup, little slider and guts of a burglar. Eighty-six saves in 2002-03, not including the infamous Game 5 plank-walk in Oakland in 2002.
Ron Perranoski (1968-71): In an era when closers often got six or more outs, he totaled 65 saves for the 1969 and 1970 AL West-winning Twins.
Bill Campbell (1973-77): A righthanded screwballer, which was the same as a lefty. “Soup” in 1976: 17-5, 20 saves and 167⅔ innings in 78 relief appearances. No lie.