Gibson's patience finally about to pay off

Kyle Gibson will make his big-league debut four years after the Twins picked him in the first round.

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Kyle Gibson was 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA in 15 starts at Class AAA Rochester this season.

Photo: BRIAN PETERSON • brianp@startribune.com,

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Harold Gibson was right there with Twins fans, wondering when his son Kyle would be promoted to the majors. Of course, the elder Gibson wanted to see his son in the majors before now.

But Harold Gibson is not upset with how things turned out. In fact, he’s elated.

“I wasn’t questioning,” Gibson said. “Just anxious. And I’ll tell everyone, this was the right way.”

Gibson spoke by telephone Friday as the car he was traveling in from Greenville, Ind., rolled through Wisconsin on the way to Minnesota. He will be one of 31 family members and friends who will be on hand Saturday when Kyle Gibson, the Twins’ first-round pick in 2009, makes his long-awaited major league debut.

His wife, Sharon, is flying up from Georgia. She was staying with their daughter, Holly, who on June 20 gave birth to Elijah Michael Hughes.

“Our first grandchild,” Harold said, “and first addition to the family since Kyle was born.”

It also came on the Hughes’ second attempt to have a child. Holly suffered a miscarriage in early 2012 but didn’t stop trying.

Harold Gibson can’t believe the series of events, from Holly having the baby on the same day Kyle was pitching for Class AAA Rochester, to Kyle getting called up.

“They delivered the baby around 5 p.m. and got back to the room around 8,” Harold said. “Holly said, ‘Why don’t we call up the game and watch Kyle pitch?’ We sat there with the new baby with Kyle on the computer screen and it was pretty cool.”

Kyle Gibson, 25, threw seven innings in a Rochester victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that night, giving up one unearned run. He improved to 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA, prompting the Twins to call him up for Saturday’s start.

On Sunday he was sitting in the dugout at Louisville, talking to his father on the phone, when he was summoned into the clubhouse for a team meeting.

Rochester manager Gene Glynn wanted the whole team to know that Gibson was being called up.

“I didn’t really know what to say,” Gibson said. “Everyone came up and shook my hand. It was pretty cool.”

Gibson called his wife, Elizabeth, to tell her the news, then called his father back. Harold Gibson said that Kyle was so excited, he initially said he was meeting the team in Baltimore. The Twins don’t play in Baltimore again this season.

When Gibson takes the mound Saturday, it will be the culmination of a path that included a stress fracture in his forearm during his final year at the University of Missouri in 2009 and Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in September 2011. His stuff is back, a sinking fastball and sharp slider being his key pitches, but he can change speeds and the Twins believe he always has had a good feel for pitching.

He just needed the opportunity. When Mike Pelfrey landed on the disabled list last weekend because of a back strain, the Twins summoned Pedro Hernandez to make an emergency start Sunday in Cleveland. But they believed it was time to give Gibson his chance.

So Harold Gibson climbed into a car with his father, Doug; Ron Hounshell, one of Gibson’s youth coaches; and Kyle’s longtime friend Todd Baker and headed for the Twin Cities on Friday. Coaches from Missouri are flying up. Other friends are heading to town for the event, which is why Gibson’s ticket request for the game is so high.

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