Jon Krawczynski / Associated Press, Published February 12 2013
Twins' Perkins has come a long way
The Minnesota Twins left-hander was in attendance one day after receiving an award from the Baseball Writers Association of America as the player who best cooperated with the media and represented the team publicly over the previous season. Ryan, the Twins GM, laid it all out there in the blunt and accurate fashion that has become his calling card.
“He has turned his career around. He’s turned his life around and I think that was indicative in getting that award,” Ryan said. “I compliment you. I didn’t think this was going to turn out three years ago when he was in New Britain and Rochester. I wasn’t sure that he was going to be a member of this organization, much less a winner of the Good Guy award.”
Three years ago, Perkins was in the organization’s doghouse over a grievance he filed with the union for being assigned to Triple-A following an arm injury. The dispute was later settled, but hurt feelings on both sides lingered.
Then things started to turn around in a hurry. Once he was healthy, the former first-round draft pick quickly started to assert himself as a top-flight reliever on the Twins’ shaky pitching staff. His velocity increased and he earned his way on the big league roster by giving the Twins an overpowering lefty in the eighth inning.
A new four-year contract came before last season, a year in which Perkins eventually took over the closer role from Matt Capps. He finished the season 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA and 16 saves. Almost as impressive, the head-strong native of Stillwater, Minn., took on a prominent role in the clubhouse as a veteran leader and team spokesman.
Now, as Twins pitchers and catchers prepare to report for their first workout of spring training today, Perkins is one of the few proven commodities on a pitching staff with all sorts of questions.
“It happened really fast,” Perkins said at the team’s annual fan festival late last month. “I went from being a young guy to being one of the old guys really fast. That’s good. I’ve gotten plenty of chances here, so I’m glad I made good on the chances they gave me. There’s a lot of goals that I have, that we have as a team, that we’ll start answering in April.”