Kyle Gibson’s dream is in reach.
Fully recovered from a reconstructive procedure on his right elbow, the Greenfield-Central graduate will report to the Minnesota Twins’ spring-training home at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla., early next week to battle for a spot in the team’s starting rotation.
On Sept. 7, 2011, the six-foot-6 right-hander underwent “Tommy John” surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.
Shortly after his procedure, Gibson told the Daily Reporter that his goal was to be ready for spring training in 2013 and compete to be one of Minnesota’s five starters.
Five days before he’s due to report to spring training, Gibson has achieved his objective.
“It was my goal in 2011, and I wasn’t even on the 40-man roster. I’m trying to make that goal a reality, for sure,” said Gibson, who lives 15 minutes away from the team’s spring training complex. “If I use the stuff I have and keep getting better, I definitely have a chance. I don’t know what my chances are, realistically.
“But if I focus too much on my chances instead of doing what I need to do, I won’t get my work done.”
After a lengthy recovery process, Gibson returned to the mound on July 10, 2012 for a rehab assignment in a Gulf Coast League game in Fort Myers.
Following his rehab stint, Gibson went on to pitch for the Fort Myers Miracle — the Twins Class A Advanced team — and the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A) before participating in the Arizona Fall League in October and November.
Between those four 2012 stops, Twins’ Executive Vice President and General Manager Terry Ryan said the 25-year-old Gibson threw about 71 innings.
Gibson said he expects to throw between 140 and 160 innings in 2013.
“He’ll come into major league camp next week with the ability to compete for a spot and we’ll see how he responds,” said Ryan, in his 15th season as Minnesota’s GM. “… I’m not going to make too many decisions until we see exactly where he fits.”