La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Heralded prospect Gibson takes the mound for Twins

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 29, 2013 - 2:11 PM


Eddie Bane, Bryan Oelkers, Dan Serafini, Travis Miller, Mark Redman, Adam Johnson, Matt Fox, Glen Perkins, Matt Garza. They are part of a fraternity of Twins pitchers Kyle Gibson doesn't want to join.

They are all starting pitchers selected by the Twins in the first round picks (including supplemental round). And none of them - NONE - won their first major league start.

Will Gibson be different?

Gibson's was scheduled to start last Tuesday in Indianapolis, his hometown, before he was called up.

``It's also the last place he pitched before he had Tommy John surgery,'' his father, Harold said.

We've been wound up about Gibson making it to the majors. In reality, he hasn't really taken that long to be promoted.

He was drafted in 2009 and is making his debut four years later. If it wasn't for Tommy John surgery, it's likely that he would have been in the majors last season - when the Twins really needed starters.

Gibson has pretty good stuff. He's not ace material but more front end than back end of a rotation. One Twins coach told me two years ago that Gibson was good enough to be the ace of this staff. Not King Felix ace, but Twins ace.

I can't wait to see his stuff. His fastball can touch 94-95 but he has a very good, hard sinker and above average slider. He can change speeds and set up hitters. I remember two years ago when he said he throws his sinker toward the hip of a left-handed hitter and it would break over the inside corner. Curious to see if he still has that.

Gibson will have 31  family members and friends in attendance today. Youth coaches, his high school school, his coaches from the Missouri Tigers.

Spent some time in the Royals clubhouse before the game. What a loose bunch. My visit came one day after one of their best performances of the season, so they had reason to feel good. But they were cutting up on each other, dancing, laughing, just a good vibe. Reminded me of the Twins clubhouses from 2000-2004, when nothing as sacred.

It's a glorious afternoon here at Target Field.

Royals (37-40)

1. Alex Gordon, LF
2. Alcides Escobar, SS
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Lorenzo Cain, RF
8. Miguel Tejada, 2B
9. Jarrod Dyson, CF

Pitching: Wade Davis, RHP

Twins (35-41)

1. Clete Thomas, CF
2. Brian Dozier, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Trevor Plouffe, DH
6. Oswaldo Arcia, LF
7. Chris Parmelee, RF
8. Jamey Carroll, 3B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Kyle Gibson. RHP

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