Young arms make push for spots in Twins bullpen

  • Updated: March 13, 2012 - 9:15 PM

Manager Ron Gardenhire saw a mix of results from his relievers in a loss to the Blue Jays.

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Twins releiver Kyle Waldrop, shown during his call-up last September, pitched a shutout inning Tuesday against Toronto.

Photo: PAUL BATTAGLIA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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FORT MYERS, FLA. - Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was left with plenty to digest from his relievers following Tuesday's 8-2 loss to Toronto at Hammond Stadium. The bullpen has more potential openings than any other roster spot.

Righthander Kyle Waldrop, who tossed a scoreless inning, has not walked a batter while giving up three hits. Could he break through after two seasons at Class AAA Rochester?

"I just think he gets outs,'' Gardenhire said of Waldrop, a first-round pick in 2004. "He works quick and gets outs with a good angle.''

Righthander Jared Burton, who could work his way into an eighth-inning role with lefthander Glen Perkins, struck out two during a scoreless fifth.

But righthander Alex Burnett, whom the Twins feel is very talented, was charged with four runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning in the sixth.

"The stuff is there,'' Gardenhire said. "He just has to locate the ball.''

That allowed lefthander Matt Maloney to replace Burnett, get out of the sixth, then pitch a scoreless seventh. He's thrown 51/3 scoreless innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. He's raised a couple eyebrows.

When asked if he had any reservations about carrying three lefties in the bullpen, Gardenhire said. "Nope. Left or right. Guys we think can get people out.''

LA VELLE E. NEAL III

  • TORONTO 8, TWINS 2

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