Waldrop has look of a keeper in bullpen

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2011 - 11:18 PM

The 25-year-old is back with the Twins this spring despite having a chance to move on, and his trust could pay off with a job in the majors.


Kyle Waldrop, who got a chance to pitch at Target Field during an exhibition game against the Cardinals last year, would like a shot at the real thing for the Twins this year.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

BRADENTON, FLA. - Kyle Waldrop has this spring training stuff mastered. Now the Twins righthander is hoping for a chance to shine in the regular season, too.

Waldrop quietly posted a 0.87 ERA last year in 10 spring training appearances for the Twins. This year, he has pitched five scoreless innings, with no walks and seven strikeouts.

"We liked him last year coming out of spring, and we like him again this year," Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said Monday.

It would make a nice story: Former first-round draft pick overcomes shoulder surgery, converts from starter to reliever, re-signs after becoming a minor league free agent, and finally tastes the big leagues at age 25.

Trouble is, Waldrop isn't on the 40-man roster. It looked like that could work against him until Sunday, when the Padres claimed Pat Neshek on waivers, opening a roster spot for the Twins.

It's sounding more and more like six of the Twins' seven bullpen jobs will go to Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, Jose Mijares, Kevin Slowey, Dusty Hughes and Glen Perkins.

If they keep three lefthanded relievers -- Mijares, Hughes and Perkins -- they almost certainly would give the seventh spot to a righthander.

Waldrop, Jeff Manship and Jim Hoey are the leading candidates. Theoretically, the Twins could promote 2008 first-round draft choice Carlos Gutierrez, another non-roster candidate, but the team believes he needs more minor league seasoning.

Hoey and Gutierrez have power arms, and manager Ron Gardenhire complimented them both Monday. But each is seen as a project. When the Twins were stacked with veteran relievers -- Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch and company -- they might have had room in the bullpen for one project.

But this year, they are trying to fill big holes. When the bullpen phone rings, Gardenhire and Anderson will be looking for a polished pitcher, whether he is overpowering or not.

Yes, this team has filled bullpen holes before, but as Gardenhire said, "I don't think we've ever had to deal with that many people leaving one area. So is it worrisome? Absolutely. Can we fill it, absolutely, but when you lose that many quality pitchers in one area, it does make it a little more entertaining."

The 6-5 Waldrop doesn't overpower hitters with velocity. His fastball sits at about 91 miles per hour, but everything he throws moves.

He was a workhorse for Class AAA Rochester last year, posting a 2.04 ERA in 57 innings before the All-Star break. He tired down the stretch, then posted a 16.05 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. That showing in Arizona gave the Twins confidence they wouldn't lose Waldrop last winter, even if they didn't place him on the 40-man roster.

Waldrop, who signed with the Twins out of Farragut (Tenn.) High School in 2004, could have gone elsewhere but decided to return. He is committed to staying, even if the Twins send him back to Rochester.

"They're the team that initially put their trust in me, and I wanted to stay loyal," he said. "There's a comfort level here. I like the way the Twins do things. They're not afraid to promote from within."

Gardenhire said the major league staff asked about Waldrop several times last year, but to promote him, the Twins would have had to take someone else off the 40-man roster, exposing them to waivers. With Neshek gone, that wouldn't be an issue this time.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question