FORT MYERS, FLA. — Steven Okert was driving through Alabama with his wife and dogs when he received a call that would change his destination.

A couple of days before the left-handed reliever was set to report to Miami Marlins camp in Jupiter, Fla., he learned he had been traded to the Twins in exchange for Nick Gordon.

"I didn't expect that at all," said Okert, who is out of minor league options and must pass through waivers if he's not on the active roster. "I thought if there was going to be [a trade], maybe it would be in camp. I didn't really expect it two days before camp started. Obviously, a little weird, first time being traded, I didn't know what to expect or know really what was going on."

It will still take a little bit more time for everything to settle. Okert's wife and dogs are staying at the place they rented in Jupiter as he looks for a place near the Twins' Fort Myers complex.

Okert, 32, throws predominantly sliders. He had a 4.45 ERA in 58⅔ innings for the Marlins last year with 73 strikeouts and 24 walks. He transformed himself into a slider-heavy reliever after a rough 2019 season with the San Francisco Giants' Class AAA team.

"I feel like not playing through 2020, working on being a little different, because talking to scouts, they weren't very interested," said Okert, who works out in the offseason with Griffin Jax. "Very average this. Very average that. Trying to come up with more of that sweeper slider rather than more standard."

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After a dominant start to the Class AAA season in 2021, Okert was promoted to the big leagues and encouraged to throw his slider as much as possible. It accounted for 68.1% of his pitches in 2022, according to StatCast, and 61.3% last season.

"That was a little bit of an adjustment," he said. "That's a lot of sliders."

Okert will likely compete with Kody Funderburk to become the second lefty in the bullpen behind Caleb Thielbar.

"I don't know what my role will be here. We'll figure that out as we go," Okert said. "Obviously, we have some really good arms here. My bullpen [session] was between Pablo [López] and [Jhoan] Duran. Two really good pitchers up there. The bullpen is loaded, so it's going to be a fun year."