Gibson still has key role for Twins

Published 8:05 am Wednesday, March 21, 2018

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the recent additions of Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi to Minnesota’s rotation, Kyle Gibson has found himself bumped to the back of the group.

That’s no slight to the slender 30-year-old right-hander. Even when Ervin Santana returns from finger surgery in late April or early May and Gibson likely becomes the fifth starter, he’s still happy to be a contributor to a contending club and proud of the depth the Twins have suddenly built up after several lean seasons of starting pitching.

“Having that kind of consistency day in and day out can make it really difficult on other teams,” Gibson said. “I’ve always thought that it is harder to keep the other team from scoring runs than it is scoring runs yourself. With the staff we have here now, hopefully we can keep a lot of runs off the board and let our offense do the rest.”

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Gibson had a 5.07 ERA in both 2016 and 2017, when he was sent to Triple-A for two separate stints. He went 6-2 with a 3.55 ERA over his last 11 starts for the Twins last year, though, and he’s been sharp again this spring. In three big league exhibition outings, Gibson has a 1.80 ERA with seven strikeouts and no walks in 10 innings. In his longest outing, he allowed one run and four hits over five innings with no walks and five strikeouts in an 8-1 win Thursday over Tampa Bay.

“They’re making moves to make this team better right now while still keeping the future in mind,” Gibson said. “Nobody foresaw the Ervin injury coming.”