Warning: Don’t feed the relievers
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.”
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.