Catching up with the forgotten man.
It's been a bit of an up and down ride for Glen Perkins in his baseball career. A first-round draft pick out of the University of Minnesota in 2004, Perkins made his Major League debut just over two years later in a September cup of coffee. He'd establish himself as one of the promising young arms coming up with the Twins with 19 solid relief appearances the next season, as a 24-year old. The next year was 2008, and the 25-year old with underwhelming stuff managed a solid season: 12-4 in 26 starts, pitching 151 innings to the tune of a 4.41 ERA.
Then came 2009. His underwhelming stuff caught up with him (or rather, the hitters did), and in conjunction with that whole mess with injuries and playing time and being demoted to Rochester late in the season, it was as though he just disappeared. Almost literally.
This spring he was "in the mix" for a spot with the team, but it never seemed like it was an option with the plethora of arms deserving of a place on the roster. Instead he remained in Rochester, where he was recently joined by fellow 2008 breakout Nick Blackburn.
If the timing in the Rochester and Minnesota rotations had been just a little different, we might have seen Blackburn's return to the Twins. But with Nick unavailable on three days rest, the Twins are turning to Perk.
Perkins hasn't had the year at triple-A that he, or the Twins, had hoped for. Instead of having a Major League-ready southpaw hurler, the numbers have been disappointing to say the least: 117 innings in 23 starts, 152 hits allowed and a 6.08 ERA. Nothing about those numbers is encouraging.
The silver lining: in his last seven starts, five have been of the quality variety. In this span he's thrown 43.1 innings, striking out 31, walking 8 and allowing just 13 earned runs en route to a 2.70 ERA.
Tonight, the 27-year old Glen Perkins has an audition. Not just for the Twins but for himself and, quite potentially, for the short-term direction of his career. And after the absolute thrashing that Minnesota put on Chicago last night, it couldn't come on a much larger stage.
Good luck, Perk.