Unhittable Louie Varland May Force His Way into Twins’ Rotation

louie varland
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Louie Varland was guaranteed nothing when he got to Fort Myers a few weeks ago. In fact, the Minnesota Twins coaching staff entered Spring Training enamored with Varland as a 100 MPH fireballer out of the bullpen, after he was delegated to relief duties during last season’s playoff run, a run that included Minnesota’s first postseason series win in two decades.

But Louie doesn’t want to be a relief pitcher. He wants to start. So, after the front office failed to bring in a legitimate replacement for Cy Young candidate Sonny Gray during the offseason, it became clear Varland would have a fighting shot to earn a spot in the big league rotation during Spring Training.

Louie Varland dominating Minnesota Twins spring training

And the 26-year-old St. Paul native wasn’t going to fumble his chance. He came into camp in what he believes is mid-season form. There’s no need to ramp up because he’s already there.

“I came down to spring training ready to go, to compete for a spot. I’m not ramping up or anything — I’m competing. I’ve got everything in top-notch shape right now.”

Louie Varland (quote via the Star Tribune)

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And his numbers show that he isn’t lying. Varland made his fourth start of spring training on Thursday, where he pitched 4 innings, allowing just 1 hit, 0 walks and striking out 4 St. Louis Cardinals hitters. In five appearances this spring, Varland has thrown 11 innings and allowed ZERO runs and just 6 hits.

At this point, it almost appears the Twins are very intent on giving the newly acquired Anthony DeSclafani, who’s been struggling with elbow soreness so far this spring. If DeSclafani can’t go, it’s assumed Varland will get that 5th spot. But it sure seems that, whether the new guy is healthy or not, Valand has earned that 5th spot in the rotation.

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