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Duensing gives Twins Optimism for Future (10/2)

As the Twins end their regular season looking to sneak into the playoffs through the back door, Brian Duensing’s story of unparalleled maturation has taken a back seat. Duensing, used in 9 relief appearances before making his first start in late July, has compiled a 5-1 record and an impressive 2.73 ERA in 9 starts. A Midwestern boy, the 26 year-old rookie out of the University of Nebraska has shown impeccable poise, leaving the Twins with newfound hope. The additional members of the Twins’ rusty rotation have been the biggest disappointments of the season. Injuries and inconsistent starts for Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, and Scott Baker made it difficult for the Twins’ offense to create enough run support early in the season. Baker and Blackburn have since turned their games around to complement Duensing and affective acquisition Carl Pavano. If those starters remain next season, the Twins will have four reliable arms to throw on the hill, leaving the 5th spot in the rotation open to Liriano, Perkins, or rookies Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship.

Looking for some muscle at the second and third base positions, less pressure will now be had by management to add significant improvement to the starting rotation in the offseason. Duensing held teams to 3 or less runs in each of his first 8 starts. If he can convince Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson that he will keep the run totals to a minimum, number 52 will be given the chance to contribute consistently in 2010. With Duensing getting his last start of the regular season this Sunday against Kansas City, look for him to give the organization and fans something positive to remember him by until spring training. As for now, the focus will be on shutting down the Royals and hoping Ozzie Guillen’s White Sox can pull out at least 2 wins in Detroit to extend the Twins’ season. But no matter the outcome, Brian Duensing’s support will be duly noted and appreciated. Without his implausible effort, the Twins would most likely be spending their last days at the Metrodome scrubbing the field with their farm system instead of competing for the Central Division crown.


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