Even though the Minnesota Twins could probably use his talents in the starting rotation, top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson is more than likely to start the season in AAA when the 2013 season begins.
That didn’t stop him from pitching like he belonged in the big leagues, however.
The 25-year old came during the fourth inning to face the Tampa Bay Rays in Sunday’s Grapefruit League match, replacing Twins closer Glen Perkins.
Gibson did give up a single to start the inning, but he settled down, and was just about perfect after that. He set down six straight Rays batters through the fourth and six, striking out former top shortstop prospect Tim Beckham, as well as Sean Rodriguez in the process.
One particular positive to take from his is that Gibson seemed to have his sinker working right off the bat, as three of the six outs were generated via grounders.
That was one of the key points to his recovery from Tommy John surgery last season, and the righty has said that he has to work off the command of the pitch in order to have any success with his secondary off-speed pitches, like his slider.
It was just a two-inning outing, Gibson didn’t have a problem with that on Sunday, and will be looking to build on top of that the next time he takes the mound.
The Twins current rotation looks more or less set right now, with some competition going on in the fifth spot where comeback candidate Rich Harden (who might ultimately wind up in the bullpen) and Cole De Vries will be looking to displace Mike Pelfrey, the big righty with the inside track to the job.
That said, considering that projected Opening Day starter Scott Diamond may not be ready to go, and that both Vance Worley and Pelfrey are coming off elbow surgeries, the starting five is not without its share of opportunities for change.
With a few more outings like his first, Gibson might just end up impressing the Twins enough to find himself with one such opportunity further down the line.