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Minnesota Twins: Glen Perkins says he learned a lot on his long journey back to the big leagues: Left-hander will make key start in Slowey's place tonight
[August 11, 2010]

Minnesota Twins: Glen Perkins says he learned a lot on his long journey back to the big leagues: Left-hander will make key start in Slowey's place tonight

CHICAGO, Aug 11, 2010 (Pioneer Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The text messages came first but mostly they made Glen Perkins wonder if his buddies back home were playing a prank. On Sunday morning, friends and family began messaging Perkins that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on his weekly radio show, had just said the team would call the left-hander up to start Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

Perkins was leery. Then came a call from a more reliable source.

"I actually got a phone call from my grandma," Perkins said. "That's when I knew that I wasn't getting fooled." When he arrived at the ballpark about three hours later, the team gave him official word of his promotion, and by Tuesday afternoon Perkins was sitting at a table in the visitors' clubhouse, slipping easily back into his place on this ballclub, playing cards and shaking hands in several small reunions.

With Kevin Slowey's sore right elbow pushing the right-hander out of the rotation this time around, Perkins will start tonight in Slowey's place, in Game 2 of this weighty series on Chicago's South Side. He's hoping that the past is just that, and that he can build on his recent success with the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings.

"I've been through a lot, especially the way this year went down there. On the field it wasn't always pretty, but it's the old cliche I guess: It's not how you start -- it's how you finish," Perkins said. "By no means am I done or are we finished, but where I was at the beginning of the year, where I was even six, eight weeks ago, to be here, it's pretty satisfying." Perkins said that during his trying year in the minors he had to learn how to pitch all over again. He had a 6.08 earned-run average and .311 batting average against in 23 starts for the Red Wings, but those alarming numbers don't tell the whole story about the Lakeville resident's time in the minor leagues.

Perkins said his troublesome season shifted on the mound in Scranton, Penn., in late June, when he gave up two three-run homers but afterward told his wife, Alisha, that he thought he'd hit a turning point. He was right. After that start, Perkins went 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA over a span of seven starts before the Twins brought him back to the big leagues this week.

"I learned, really, how to deal with adversity," Perkins said. "I'd never been through anything like that in my life. I had pitched poorly here at times but nothing compared to what I did down there and the way it was going down there. I learned more probably in the last three months than I have in a long, long time. It's all good now." The Twins, who optioned infielder Trevor Plouffe back to Rochester after Tuesday's game to make room for Perkins on the roster, certainly hope so.

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