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Despite Success in the 'Pen, Guerrier still feels like a Starter

Posted at 6:43 PM on June 10, 2007 by David Zingler

It’s about 11:25 a.m. on Sunday and I find myself standing in front of Matt Guerrier’s locker near the center of the Twins clubhouse. Relievers Glen Perkins and Carmen Cali are engaged in a game of cribbage nearby. Joe Mauer, whose stall is conveniently located in the back, left corner, is surrounded by a gaggle of reporters.

Closer Joe Nathan enters and switches the channel on the flat screen TV above Justin Morneau’s locker from Sports Center to French Open coverage. The move draws heckles from the day’s starter, Boof Bonser.

At this point you can’t help but overhear Dan Gladden and Rick Stelmaszek loudly discuss something I think was bowling related. Finally, Guerrier emerges and we sit down for a quick Q&A session.

ME: You have a new role as a setup man, what has been the biggest change?

GUERRIER: I’ve been throwing a lot more. I am having fewer days off and am doing less work on the side. That’s really the only thing.

ME: With all of the injuries you guys have had – the bullpen is revamped – has it affected the chemistry at all?

GUERRIER: No...(Carmen) Cali and (Jason) Miller, when he was here, and the other new guys – we would sort of feel them out for a couple of days and (after that) everybody starts to fit in. We are pretty loose down there and are able to mesh with guys when they come up.

ME: You were a starter at the beginning of your professional career and even made your major league debut as a starter, is that something you’ve set aside?

GUERRIER: Not really. I’ve talked to (Rick Anderson) about it. I’ve always wanted to be a starter and still really do. Now that my role has changed so much, it’s kind of a weird situation. If I am going to be pitching in a role like this, I don’t mind staying here, but, in the back of my mind, I also feel like I could be a starter.

I had the opportunity last year – one start – and for my debut I started, so it’s always in the back of my mind. (But), if I am pitching a lot, I don’t mind doing this.

ME: When a spot in the rotation opens up, do you lobby for it?

GUERRIER: No, not really – I did that a little bit in spring training, they said they’d keep me in mind if something comes up.

ME: When I talked to you in 2005, you said that fans were sometimes mistaking you for Brad Radke, are they starting to recognize you now?

GUERRIER: Not really, I don’t get Brad Radke anymore, but I don’t get too many people recognizing me. I am just another guy.

ME: What do you guys do down (in the bullpen) when things get slow?

GUERRIER: Nothing much – we talk about people in the stands...we don’t do too many exciting things. Juan (Rincon) keeps us loose. He’s always telling us to pay attention to the game and (to) stop talking – really just messing around with us.

ME: One last thing, what are some of the best and worst bullpens to watch a game in around the league?

GUERRIER: It’s fun when we go on the road, we can move around a little bit better than in our bullpen – we kind of feel like we are locked into our seat. It’s hard to watch the game from our bullpen. You have to sit and face the leftfielder and turn your head to watch the game.

Seattle has a good one; it feels like you are right on the field. They are all so different...All the places where you are not on the playing field, so you can walk around freely and not have to worry about get hit by a ball or getting in the way...Almost all bullpens also have a bathroom.

ME: Not here.

GUERRIER: You have to come back to the dugout (here) – jog back and forth every other inning, if you’re one that has to go a lot (laughs).

June 2007
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