Twins ink Ponson to Minor League deal

Twins ink Ponson to Minor League deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have been searching for experienced arms to boost their starting rotation, and on Tuesday they added at least one well-known pitcher to compete for a starting spot in Sidney Ponson.

Ponson, 30, was one of two pitchers that the Twins signed to Minor League deals with invitations to Spring Training. The team also inked right-handed pitcher Brad Voyles, who spent last season with the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.

A career 80-96 pitcher, Ponson went 4-5 with a 6.25 ERA in 2006 during stints with the Cardinals and the Yankees, both of which released him during the year. Ponson has also seen his ERA rise over each of the last three seasons after going 17-12 with a 3.75 ERA with Baltimore and San Francisco in 2003.

And while Ponson's recent numbers are of concern to the Twins, the hope is that the pitcher who showed the ability to be an innings eater at one time can find that form once again.

"This is an opportunity for him to compete for one of our rotation spots with a host of others, and he is still just 30 years old," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "It wasn't too long ago that he threw well over 200 innings. We feel like we are a good fit for him and I thought it certainly was worth taking a shot at bringing in a guy that has the Major League experience that he has."

Voyles, 30, was limited to just three starts for Memphis last season due to knee problems. He has been pitching in Venezuela during the Winter League and has proven to be healthy, going 1-2 with a 2.78 in eight games (five starts). He also has Major League experience having spent parts of three seasons with the Royals from 2001-03 and he holds a career 0-4 record with a 6.45 ERA in the Majors.

The Twins have had success recently with pitchers that had been shuffled around to many clubs during their career. One such occurrence came last season when Dennys Reyes emerged as one of the best left-handed relievers in the league for the club after struggling to find a fit with other teams.

"Sometimes a change in scenery or environment can help and we hope that [the situations with Ponson] would be somewhat resembling what happened to Reyes," Ryan said. "He had been a number of places the last five, six years and somehow and someway he found into a comfort level and produced for us. Maybe we have that same effect on Sidney Ponson."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.