Darnell Will Join Rare Company If He Starts For Twins

MINNEAPOLIS—Lefthander Logan Darnell's whirlwind tour of the Twins system has included stops at four different levels since he signed out of the 2010 draft.

A sixth-round pick from Kentucky, Darnell breezed through two levels this season, going 10-5, 4.06 through 21 starts. He notched 70 strikeouts and 33 walks in 120 innings for low Class A Beloit and high Class A Fort Myers.

The 22-year-old moved up to Double-A New Britain in mid-August.

Darnell has a chance to join 2005 third-rounder Brian Duensing as just the second lefthanded starter to be drafted, developed and utilized in the rotation by the Twins in more than a decade.

Duensing had made 44 careers starts for the Twins since 2009, but before him, one would have to go back to Mark Redman's selection in 1996 to find a lefthanded Twins draftee who became a rotation regular.

Darnell has the confidence to be next in line. "He really believes in his stuff, and he knows how to work the hitters," farm director Jim Rantz said. "He's a bit of a slow worker, but his mound presence is really good."

Darnell's fastball sits in the high 80s, and though the Twins believe that may rise as he reaches his mid-20s, he'll have to get by with average velocity.

He's doing a good job of it so far. Darnell limited hitters to just 24 hits in 33 innings with Beloit in six starts, and then he adapted quickly at Fort Myers, running up a 4.17 ERA that was inflated by one disastrous start. Minnesota moved him up to New Britain when the Rock Cats needed a pitcher.

"He's got a basic three-pitch mix, and the fastball has good movement on it," Rantz said. "He's aggressive (and) not afraid to throw strikes. He's come a long way quickly."


• The Twins hope 2009 first-round righthander Kyle Gibson can avoid Tommy John surgery with a program of strengthening exercises and rest. Team doctors diagnosed him with a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament and a strained flexor muscle in early August. Gibson, who went 3-8, 4.81 in 18 starts for Triple-A Rochester, reported to Fort Myers for rehab work.

• Fort Myers shortstop Estarlin de los Santos, who had been playing second base while trying to overcome a sore elbow, will have Tommy John surgery, ending his season after 28 injury-plagued games.