Andrew Albers has a fastball that averages 86 miles per hour. He has used immaculate control and mixing in off-speed pitches to work 8 1/3 and then 9 scoreless innings in his first two starts for the Twins.

There's a theory with soft throwers that familiarity will lead to bad results. In other words, if they face the same team within a couple of weeks, the hitters gain a better idea of when to wait back and are better able to square up pitches.

Albers made 22 starts for Class AAA Rochester before being recalled by the Twins. He was 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA and worked 132 1/3 innings.

He didn't have a quality start (6 innings or more, 3 innings or less) in the first four Rochester starts. Twelve of his 18 starts after that were quality. There were four examples of Albers facing teams in what could be considered close proximity.

Vs. Pawtucket: April 14--5 innings, 4 hits, no runs, 5 strikeouts, no decision. April 20--2 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, HR allowed to Jose Iglesias, no decision.

Vs. Charlotte: May 23--6 innings, 10 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, win. June 2--6 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 2 HRs allowed, win.

Vs. Gwinnett: June 7--9 innings, 6 hits, 0 runs, 7 strikeouts, win. June 13--7 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, win.

Vs. Scranton-Wilkes Barre: June 18--6 1/3 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 2 HRs allowed, win. July 8--5 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, loss.

Albers' combined numbers first time around: 26 1/3 innings, 24 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 22 strikeouts, 2 HRs allowed, and 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA.

Albers' numbers second time around: 20 innings, 24 hits, 14 runs, 8 walks, 16 strikeouts, 3 HRs allowed, and 2-1 with a 6.30 ERA.

Which proves ... hopefully nothing.

*The Twins have signed eight international players not covered by the major league draft. They have signing slots remaining. Teams are allowed to sign eligible international players until next June 15.

"It's not a bad thing to have money left in the signing pool,'' General Manager Terry Ryan said. "I would've liked to have had some room this past June. There were some players still available.''

The Twins gave a $1.4 million bonus to Lewin Diaz, a first baseman/OFer, and $550,000 to third baseman Roni Tapia. Both are from the Dominican.

The Twins also signed Ruar Verkerk, a third baseman from the Netherlands, and Callan Pearce, a pitcher from South Africa.

The other official signees at this point are pitcher Jose Martinez, catcher Robert Molina and outfielder Edgar Herrera from Venezuela, and Emmanuel Morel, a shortstop from the Dominican.

The players will not report to teams until 2014. Generally, the Dominican and Venezuelan players work out at the Twins' academies in those countries after initially signing.

*Nelson Molina had another hit for the Twins in the rookie Gulf Coast League on Tuesday. That put him at 6 for 19 in his past six games. That's good news for Molina, the 11th-round draft choice from Puerto Rico. The infielder started his professional career going 1 for 52. His average of .019 now has been raised to .099.


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