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Wednesday (Albers, Colabello and the Independents' Day) edition: Wha' Happened?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • August 7, 2013 - 9:05 AM

It says a lot about the Twins' season that some of the best performances and best stories have been authored by ballplayers who once took the field in the most remote of remote baseball outposts, but let's not let the team's overall struggles get in the way of a good tale -- at least for one day.

Tuesday belonged to Andrew Albers. He was a 10th-round pick by the Padres out of the University of Kentucky in 2008, then fell off the face of the earth after Tommy John surgery. In 2010, the Saskatchewan native pitched for Quebec in the Can-Am Baseball League. The Twins found him, he worked his way through the system, and at age 27 he made his MLB debut with 8.1 shutout innings last night against one of baseball's hottest teams.

Amazing.

And backing him in that effort was Chris Colabello, a 29-year-old former Can-Am refugee who was still in that league as late as 2011. Colabello raked at Rochester this year and hit his third Twins home run last night, an absolute blast to center field.

And don't forget: Caleb Thielbar didn't pitch last night, but the former St. Paul Saints pitcher -- yes, the Twins have three former Independent League guys on their 25-man roster right now -- has allowed just 2 earned runs in 28.2 innings this season.

We root for these stories, of course, because they defy odds and erase the precious thin line between making it and not making it. They give hope to the guys still toiling in dusty outposts or even to people hoping for a big break in their non-sporting lives. Add Sam Deduno, who never played Independent League ball but is an underdog nonetheless, and you're talking about some of the Twins' best performers this season.

Whether the sample size can hold up for a longer stretch remains to be seen, but for now let's just enjoy the moment.

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