Q&A with Twins Reliever Matt Guerrier


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Like offensive lineman in football, middle relievers seldom attract attention until they screw up. Starters get wins, closers get saves and middle men get uh, holds. Who led the American League in holds in 2010? Admit it, you don’t have any idea. (Just for the record it was Boston’s Daniel Bard with 32.)

So the fact that Matt Guerrier has been one of the more anonymous Twins over the past 6 seasons should be taken as a compliment. Guerrier recently completed another solid campaign, posting a 3.17 ERA and 23 holds – best on the team and 6th in the league.

With the Twins on the verge of elimination, here is my final player interview of 2010 – a quick chat with Guerrier on October 1:

DZ: The regular season is winding down, how are you feeling right now?

GUERRIER: Good. The last month, we’ve had some time to get some rest and some time to get ready for the playoffs. (We) added a couple of arms late in August – it helps us, being able to do that.

DZ: You mentioned – just right now – about adding the arms. The bullpen has evolved this year – I guess you could say – how much better is it right now than it was on opening day?

GUERRIER: On opening day we really didn’t know how it was going to all play out with losing a guy like Nathan and how guys would react to certain situations. We kind of all said, “Whenever they call on us, we are ready to go.” I think that helped us late in the season when we picked up Flores and Capps and Fuentes. We all kind of said “We don’t know how it’s going to play out, but let’s be ready in the 5th and 6th (innings) and we’ll make it all come together at the end of the game for Capps.” It’s definitely been an improvement adding a couple of extra arms that have some good experience.

DZ: You mentioned Joe (Nathan) being out; do you see him a lot, do you guys talk?

GUERRIER: Yeah, he’s worked out here all year and he just recently went back to Tennessee, so we keep in touch as much as we can. It’s tough not to have him around; he’s a great friend, so we definitely keep in touch.

DZ: How is he doing? It’s got to be different – basically your whole life is different when you get injured like that.

GUERRIER: He’s happy for us. It’s a tough situation where you want to be here and be a part of what is going on and we try to make him feel like he is a part of it because we wouldn’t be here without the stuff that he’s taught us and the way he’s helped us throughout the years.

DZ: If you count ’04, I think this is the fourth division championship team you’ve been a part of. Is this the best team, do you think?

GUERRIER: Yeah, we’ve gotten a little better every year – a little more experience, we add a couple of guys. (We) added some pretty key guys this year with Orlando and Jim and bringing Carl back (and) for Delmon to be playing the way he is and for Danny to come up as a rookie and play as well as he has – we’ve got a lot of different things going on good right now. They kind of filled some spots for us and (we) played the season and (they) filled some more spots as the season went on. It’s been good.

DZ: With Joe being out and you being a veteran guy, have you had to take on more of a leadership role in the bullpen?

GUERRIER: You know, we all kind of – me and Jessie and Rauch kind of took charge of that and we’re always there for guys when they needed us. It kind of helps having a couple of guys like that. You don’t really want one guy to think he’s running the show when it’s about all of us. We’ve all been open for the other guys and Fuentes and Flores and Cappy are three more veteran guys that can be there for the young guys that are still here. It’s made it easier for all us to kind of transition and help guys out.

DZ: The first year in Target Field is winding down, what have you learned about this stadium?

GUERRIER: It’s a great place to play. The fans have been great and the weather has been great. I think those are some of the things people were worried about. Its responded well. We’ve gotten used to all of the little things – where the dugout is and where the bullpen is – and it’s worked out great. No complaints.

DZ: Is it nice actually having a real bullpen now?

GUERRIER: It’s nice to be able to look forward and actually watch the game instead of (craning your neck) the whole time…it’s nice to be out and off the field.

See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:

October 4: Denard Span
October 2: Scott Baker
September 26: Kevin Slowey
September 16: Ben Revere
September 14: Nick Blackburn
September 7: Brian Fuentes
September 5: Randy Flores
August 23: Matt Capps
August 19: Brian Duensing
July 29: Jesse Crain
July 23: Ron Mahay
July 21: Danny Valencia
July 11: Michael Cuddyer
July 8: Jason Repko
July 5: Nick Punto
June 12: Jason Kubel
June 9: Drew Butera
May 11: Denard Span
April 25: Justin Morneau
April 22: Alex Burnett
April 21: Mike Redmond
April 16: J.J. Hardy

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