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Twins reliever Glen Perkins retires

La Velle E. Neal III, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Baseball

MINNEAPOLIS -- Glen Perkins, a local product who became a three-time All-Star as one of toughest left-handed relievers in the game, is retiring.

Twins general manager Thad Levine said during a winter caravan stop that Perkins has decided to end his playing career but could return to the club in a front office role in the future. A source close to Perkins confirmed late Tuesday that he would be interested in working with the club in that capacity.

Perkins, 34, has been quiet since the end of the regular season. He spent most of the year rehabilitating from shoulder surgery in 2016. The surgery cost Perkins 16 months, and he was not the same dominant southpaw once he returned. His first outing was Aug. 17 against Cleveland, during which he faced six batters but got just one out while being charged with two runs.

Perkins was emotional following a Sept. 30 outing against the Tigers in which he asked for the ball after getting the third out in the ninth inning. The Twins declined the $6.5 million option on Perkins' contract after the season ended.

In 12 seasons, all with the Twins, Perkins was 35-25 with a 3.88 ERA and 120 saves. He's third on the Twins all-time list in saves, trailing Joe Nathan and Rick Aguilera.

The former Stillwater High and Minnesota Gophers star was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2004 draft. He made his debut as a starter and spent the first four years of his major league career taking the ball in the first inning. His first extensive work as a reliever came in 2011, when he appeared in 65 games. Without the need to condition himself to pitch six-plus innings, Perkins began throwing fastballs at 95 miles per hour and higher. His slider was lethal, as it cut across the plate while diving toward the back foot of right-handed hitters. It was a dominant combination of pitches.

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Perkins took over closing duties from Matt Capps in 2012, and never looked back. He saved at least 32 games in each of the next three seasons. He earned the save in the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field and would have made it saves in consecutive All-Star Games in 2015 if Brian Dozier had not homered in the ninth inning of the game in Cincinnati, taking Perkins out of a save situation.

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