Perkins gets $10.3M over 3 more years with Twins

Glen Perkins appeared on the outs with the Minnesota Twins in

2010, his struggles on the mound compounded by a grievance he filed

against the team the previous season.

Two years later, Perkins is the one arm the Twins know they can

count on in the back end of their bullpen. Minnesota and the

left-handed setup man agreed Thursday to a four-year contract that

adds $10.3 million over three seasons and includes a team option

for 2016.

For the first time in his career, Perkins has some level of

stability and security.

”I hate using cliches, but it means I can just go out and pitch

for the next four years,” Perkins said. ”That’s all that matters

now. I can just go out there and pitch. I don’t have to worry about

anything other than pitching. I don’t have to worry about anything

like my family and all those good things.”

Perkins emerged as a reliable late-inning reliever last season,

going 4-4 with a 2.48 ERA in 65 games. He struck out 65 and walked

21 in 61 2-3 innings.

”Everything has changed over the last couple of years,”

manager Ron Gardenhire said earlier this spring training. ”He’s

content. He understands more about the game than he ever has. He

understands what he wants out of the game more than he ever did

before.”

It was a breakout season that came as a surprise to some after a

couple of injury plagued years that included 2009, when Perkins and

his agent had the players’ association file a grievance against the

Twins for sending him to Triple-A Rochester after activating him

from the disabled list in August. Perkins thought he should have

remained on the major league roster and been sent on a rehab

assignment instead. The grievance was later settled.

He was converted from a starter to a reliever and grabbed a role

as an overpowering setup man last season. Now with closer Joe

Nathan gone to Texas, Matt Capps coming off of a disappointing

2011, starter Brian Duensing moving to the bullpen from the

rotation and Joel Zumaya out for the season with elbow-ligament

replacement surgery, Perkins is the rock.

”He’s got the perfect situation. He’s living at home. He grew

up a Twins fan,” Gardenhire said. ”Can’t get any better for him

and I think it took a while for him to realize how fortunate he

was. That’s just being in the game and seeing how other people

handle it. He’s done an awful lot in this game already and he’s got

a lot more he can do, and he realizes that, believe me. I think he

really likes what he’s doing.”

With a healthy arm, the former University of Minnesota standout

and native of Stillwater, Minn., has seen his velocity jump a

little and he is comfortable this spring knowing that he has a role

with the team from the start. There has even been some talk about

Perkins eventually becoming the team’s closer.

”I feel like where I pitched last year and where I’ll pitch

this year that I can impact a game as much, or more, and I’m OK

with that,” Perkins said earlier this spring. ”I like coming into

situations where a closer wouldn’t typically come in. It is a

cliche, but I like to help out the team, and I think I can help out

the team the most, for me, this way.”

Perkins agreed in January to a $1.55 million salary for this

year.