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Minnesota Twins pitcher Vance Worley.

Jerry Holt, Dml - Star Tribune

TWINS SPRING TRAINING

Trade to Twins upended Worley's personal plans

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • February 15, 2013 - 8:07 AM

FORT MYERS, FLA. - When Vance Worley was traded to the Twins on Dec. 6, the young righthander faced the usual relocation challenges.

He had recently signed a lease on a house in New Jersey. How was he going to get out of that? He had lined up a place in Clearwater, Fla., where the Phillies train. What was he going to do about that?

But Worley had another layer of stress because of the trade. What about the ring?

Worley's world was whirling because, on the day he was traded to the Twins, he was preparing to propose to his girlfrirend Maricel Vivas, a Philadelphia native. He actually conducted an interview with a Minneapolis reporter while parked outside the jewlery store that day, minutes before he picked up the engagement ring.

"All this stuff," he thought. "What are we going to do?"

On Wednesday, Worley was asked how it had turned out.

"It was a rough two weeks," he said, "but now we just have to figure out the date of the wedding."

She said yes! To Worley, and to Minnesota.

Real estate and "the proposal" have been checked off his personal to-do list. Now Worley, 25, can focus on stabilizing a Twins starting rotation that was one of the worst in baseball last season.

He went 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA with the Phillies last season after going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 2011. It was in 2011 that he finished third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting. His fastball has been clocked in the low 90s with a slider and changeup that both are considered to be a little above average.

Worley said his struggles last season stemmed from bone chips in his elbow that were removed late in the season. The chips affected his ability to get full extension on his pitches, something that hasn't been a problem since the surgery, he said. The bone chips didn't scare off the Twins, who landed Worley along with righthanded pitching prospect Trevor May in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere.

"He's an aggressive pitcher," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said of Worley. "He is not afraid of throwing strikes, he gets after it. He's got enough velocity, enough slider and enough offspeed stuff. That's why we went out and got him. He's certainly at the prime of his career.

"He pitched in a little ballpark in Philadelphia. I would say with the approach he has, it will fit well in Target Field because it is a more spacious ballpark."

Since the Twins have several pitchers being brought along slowly while returning from injuries, Worley could wind up as the Opening Day starter on April 1 -- against the Detroit Tigers and presumably opposite Justin Verlander. Nothing has been settled yet.

Ryan met Worley for the first time during TwinsFest last month, as Worley and Vivas flew in to look for places to live in the Twin Cities. But Ryan approached Vivas first while Worley was out signing autographs -- to apologize for the timing of the trade.

"Yeah, I was right in the middle of that thing and I felt bad about that because they had been talking about marriage, talking about how to get their stuff together," Ryan said. "All of a sudden, this trade happens and they have to change everything they were doing.

"It was kind of difficult to handle all at once, but it is part of the life of a professional."

Worley laughed as he told his side of the story about what Ryan had told Vivas.

"He [told Vivas] he was sorry for ruining her life and putting me in the position I was in," Worley said. "and that they just wanted me that bad."

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