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Former UK pitcher dazzles in MLB debut

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

It had been five years since he left the Bluegrass state to begin his journey to the big leagues. Five years might seem like a long time, but for those who aspire to become a major league baseball player, you might consider that the fast track. Andrew Albers played for the Blue and White for four years, from 2005 to 2008. He pitched in 81 games, including 31 starts, compiling a 20-18 record with a 4.47 ERA. His 185 strikeouts in 239.1 innings doesn’t’ signal blow-you-away stuff, but it’s good.

Following his senior season, Albers was drafted in the 10th round by the San Diego Padres. He began his career in the Arizona Rookie league, but in 2010 he was released by the club shortly after having Tommy John surgery.

Albers came back with a rebound stint in the Canadian-American Independent League in 2010; then the Minnesota Twins came knocking. Albers answered and quickly ascended through the organization, finally cementing himself at AAA Rochester this season. He pitched in 22 games for the Red Wings, posting an 11-5 record with an impressive 2.86 ERA and 116 strikeouts in just 132.1 innings. One of the most impressive pitchers in AAA ball this year.

Earlier this week he got the call up. The Minnesota Twins were visiting the Kansas City Royals and the club needed a guy to come up and eat some innings. Boy, did Albers do that and more… In his big league debut he went 8.1 innings — the longest outing of any Twins pitcher this year — allowing only four hits and one walk. He took a shutout into the 9th inning.

His catcher Chris Herrmann said post-game, “He was going with what was working tonight. His fastball command was there, his cutter command was there, and we used a changeup here and there. But for the most part, we stuck to the fastball inside.”

Congratulations to the former Wildcat. Here’s to hoping it only gets better.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR