An already good week for Kyle Gibson turned once-in-a-lifetime Monday when the Greenfield native got his promotion to the big leagues.
Gibson, a 2006 Greenfield-Central graduate and former first-round Major League Baseball draft pick of Minnesota, will start for the Twins on Saturday against visiting Kansas City.
Gibson was scheduled to begin a four-game series with his Triple-A Rochester club today at Indianapolis. The 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher would have enjoyed the visit home, where dozens of his hometown friends and family members would have likely filled the Victory Field bleachers, as they did July 22, 2011, when Gibson made his last start in Indy for Rochester.
Instead, those well-wishers will have the opportunity to witness Gibson’s major league debut several hours north at Target Field.
“Right now I feel a little anxious,” Gibson said Monday afternoon as he packed for the airport. “Ready to get there and get on the field and just get my feet wet playing some catch and shagging bp (batting practice).”
The 25-year-old right-hander — picked 22nd overall in the 2009 out of the University of Missouri — took the roster spot of left-hander Pedro Hernandez, who was optioned to Rochester.
Gibson, who will wear uniform No. 44 for the Twins, made 15 starts for Rochester this season, going 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA, 79 strikeouts and 28 walks in 92 2/3 innings.
In his last four starts, Gibson went 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 26 innings.
Saturday, he’ll take the mound for Minnesota (34-38) against Kansas City (35-38), a fellow American League Central member which is also looking to stay in the wild card playoff mix.
“It’s a dream come true,” Gibson said of his debut. “And I know when the moment gets here I will be nervous, but I have to be confident that I belong there and that I can get big league hitters out when I execute.”
Gibson appeared headed for a big-league call up two years ago before arm trouble took hold. The Twins’ 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Gibson opened 2011 in Rochester and went 3-8 with a 4.81 ERA. He made his final start that season in the July visit to Indy, where he took a no-decision, allowing four earned runs in five innings. Within a week, Gibson was on the disabled list, and he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Sept. 7, 2011.
He rehabilitated his way back to Rochester last season, making two starts late in the year.
“I think it made me stronger, physically and mentally,” Gibson said of his comeback from surgery. “I had to overcome adversity to get where I am today and, in my mind, anytime you work hard to overcome adversity, it’s something that will pay dividends later in life somehow.”
The Twins host the Royals on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time), or 3:10 p.m. in Minnesota (Central Time Zone).