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Swarzak eats up innings in long relief

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • Star Tribune
  • September 18, 2013 - 12:22 AM

– Anthony Swarzak spent the offseason preparing for the 2013 season as if he would be needed in the rotation. That didn’t happen, so the righthander returned to the bullpen for another year as the Twins’ long reliever.

He has gone 2-2 with a 2.82 ERA. Most importantly, he’s pitched 92 ⅔ innings. Swarzak has been an innings horse, pitching 96 ⅔ last year and 102 innings in 2011, mostly as a reliever. He made 11 starts in 2011 and five last year but none this season.

There always is concern when a reliever closes in on 100 innings out of the bullpen, but Swarzak says he feels great. It has turned out to be a good season for him, after he recovered from a broken rib suffered while horsing around during TwinsFest in January.

“I feel like I can go a lot more,” he said. “I feel like I’ve taken a step back from the workload. I came into spring training ready to start, had a little setback with the rib, but I was preparing to be a starter. I was throwing longer bullpens.”

Swarzak said he plans on following the same routine this upcoming offseason. He feels the program he was on prepared him to handle long relief.

“You ask Swarzak, and he’ll tell you that he can throw 150 innings,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

With extra pitchers called up for September, it looks unlikely that Swarzak will pitch 100 innings this season.

Mauer update

The Twins have allowed Joe Mauer to remain at home and work out over the past two days in an effort to get him free of concussion symptoms as soon as possible.

“It seems to be working,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. “Hopefully, he will continue to progress and hopefully we can get him back out on the field in the next day or two.”

It has been nearly one month — Aug. 19 — since Mauer suffered a concussion when he was hit in the facemask by a foul ball. He then suffered a setback a week ago. Both Mauer and the Twins would like for him to catch before the season is over so he can end the year on a positive note.

Ryan added there’s still a chance Mauer could join the club in Oakland for the remainder of the road trip.

“I think he’d like to join us,” Ryan said. “He wants to play as bad as any of us want him to play.”

Etc.

• The Twins haven’t settled on a starter for Sunday in Oakland. Liam Hendriks is on the list of probables for the Athletics series, but the Twins will reassess the situation after Hendriks was knocked out of the game in the first inning Monday. Cole De Vries will get the ball if Hendriks doesn’t. “I guarantee you we will use one of them in that spot,” Gardenhire said.

• Justin Morneau is gone from the Twins but not forgotten. Before he was traded to Pittsburgh, the Twins had settled on him as their nominee for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who best represents baseball through contributions on and off the field. Each team nominates a player. Kirby Puckett (1996) was the last Twin to win the award. Morneau was the Twins nominee in 2010 and 2012 as well.

• Righthander Samuel Deduno will undergo arthroscopic shoulder surgery Wednesday to repair some fraying of the labrum. Twins physicians Dr. John Steubs and Dr. Diane Dahm will perform the surgery.

• Wednesday’s contest can be seen on Chicago’s WGN; FSN is not televising the game.

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