Warn­ing: Don’t feed the re­liev­ers

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

The Min­nesota Twins had an off-day in San Diego on Mon­day ahead of their two-game se­ries against the Padres, so re­liever Bran­don Kint­zler was do­ing some sight­see­ing when he got word that he had been traded to the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als. He now has one heck of a story to tell.

“I was in the mid­dle of feed­ing a rhino and a gi­raffe,” Kint­zler told Casey Stern and Brad Lidge on MLB Net­work Ra­dio. “Have you ever fed a rhino be­fore?”

Kint­zler, who was pre­sum­ably feed­ing said an­i­mals at the San Diego Zoo Sa­fari Park and not, say, the Gaslamp Quar­ter, added that he was ex­cited to be join­ing the Na­tion­als and hadn’t yet talked to Wash­ing­ton General Man­ager Mike Rizzo about his spe­cific role in the bullpen.

“I’m sure when I get there they’ll fig­ure that out,” Kint­zler, 33, said. “Ob­vi­ously, I’ve done it all, so I’m just ex­cited to be a part of the race.”

As the Twins’ closer this sea­son, Kint­zler has 28 saves in 32 op­por­tu­ni­ties, with a 2.78 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Un­like most late-in­ning re­liev­ers, he doesn’t rely on swing-and-miss stuff (5.4 strike­outs per nine in­nings) to get bat­ters out.

“My plan to at­tack hit­ters in the ninth in­ning, I think that works well,” said Kint­zler, who cred­ited Twins bullpen coach and for­mer closer Ed­die Guardado for much of his ninth-in­ning suc­cess over the past two years. “I know ev­ery­one likes strike­outs, but you know, some­times strike­outs lead to walks, and I was just all about just at­tack­ing the hit­ters and it worked well for me in that sit­u­a­tion, so we’ll see what hap­pens.”

AP/LYNNE SLADKY

Bran­don Kint­zler went from the Min­nesota Twins’ staff, to feed­ing the an­i­mals at the San Diego Zoo Sa­fari Park, to a spot in the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als’ bullpen.

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