The Twins will give Mark Hamburger another chance. The St. Paul Saints righthanded pitcher said Saturday that he will sign a minor league contract with the Twins. A Saints representative also confirmed the move, which is scheduled to be official Tuesday.
"It's verbal [agreement] right now, but for sure signing Tuesday," Hamburger said. "That's all the detail I really know."
Hamburger’s professional career started with the Twins in 2007 as the result of an open tryout. The Mounds View native was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2008 for Eddie Guardado and spent time with the San Diego Padres and Houston Astros. He briefly pitched in the big leagues with the Rangers in 2011, but was released by the Astros in February after a second failed drug test for marijuana use.
Hamburger told the Star Tribune in early August that his drug problems are behind him. He spent 30 days at Hazelden treatment center earlier this year and has since become one of the best pitchers in Saints franchise history. A week ago, he set a Saints single-season record for strikeouts and innings pitched. On Saturday, he threw his fifth complete game to set another Saints record.
Once he signs Tuesday, Hamburger will then begin fulfilling a 50-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball after the second failed drug test.
Hamburger has been averaging a fastball around 94 mph as a starter this season. He is 6-8 with a 3.26 ERA, 120 strikeouts, 47 walks, five complete games.
“In all actuality, I see myself on a big league mound again,” Hamburger said in early August. “I’m close. … That’s how you look at.”
He’ll likely be assigned to the Twins’ Class AA or Class AAA level.