Lefthanded relief pitcher Craig Breslow is returning to the Twins.
Considered a baseball “loogy” — a “lefthanded one-out guy” — Breslow has pitched only 535⅓ innings despite 539 appearances. He has a 22-29 career record with a 3.35 ERA, 419 strikeouts and 212 walks.
The 11-year veteran agreed to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league camp, meaning the Twins will not have to clear room for him on their 40-man roster.
In the past week, the Twins have designated pitcher Pat Light and designated hitter Byung Ho Park for assignment to make room on the 40-man for infielder Ehire Adrianza (waivers from Milwaukee) and free-agent signee Matt Belisle, a righthanded reliever. The club is hopeful Light and Park will clear waivers and join the team for spring training, which starts with pitchers and catchers reporting Monday.
Breslow, 36, pitched in 42 games and had a 1.63 ERA for the Twins in 2008 after being claimed on waivers from Cleveland. He was lost to Oakland on waivers after pitching 17 games for the Twins in 2009. He has also played for the Padres, Marlins, Red Sox and Diamondbacks.
He won a World Series with Boston in 2013, pitching in three World Series games against St. Louis.
But Breslow’s effectiveness declined after that season, and he spent much of 2016 in the minors. He pitched 14 innings (in 15 appearances) for the Marlins, posting a 4.50 ERA, and his career appeared nearing an end. But the lefthander spent the winter changing his delivery, using a nearly sidearm release point to generate what he believes will be a sharp increase in movement on his pitches.
Breslow graduated with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale in 2002, and has been given the nickname “The Smartest Man In Baseball.” He was drafted in the 26th round by Milwaukee that year, and deferred acceptance into medical school to pursue a baseball career. He first reached the majors with the Padres in 2005.
“The thing that resonated the most with me was the idea that I could impact the culture and impact the direction of the organization for longer than potentially my stay there might be,” Breslow told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, adding Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey is “a really engaging and bright guy with a great vision for the organization. I’ve got no doubt that he’ll be able to bring sustained success. The opportunity to be part of that at this stage of my career is one that is really compelling.”
Breslow will pitch for Israel in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.