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Twins face off against familiar face

Twins face off against familiar face

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ARLINGTON -- The Twins didn't have many recent reports on the starting pitcher the Rangers called up to pitch in Saturday night's contest.

But they did have some personal experience.

Right-hander Sidney Ponson spent the early part of the 2007 season with the Twins, making seven starts for the club. He experienced trouble during that time, going just 2-5 with a 6.93 ERA in those starts while allowing 74 baserunners over his 37 2/3 innings. And with so many talented young arms in their farm system, the Twins decided it was best to let Ponson try to resurrect his career elsewhere.

"I like Sidney and had a lot of fun with him over here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I thought he was a gamer. I thought when he pitched with us, he was game on. He worked hard and was a good teammate. He just didn't quite have the stuff last year."

After being released by the Twins in late May, Ponson went home and waited for another team to come calling. It didn't happen quickly, as he waited until Spring Training to get an audition in front of some Major League clubs.

But following some injuries to the Rangers staff, Ponson signed a Minor League contract with the organization on March 9. He went 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in three spring appearances before starting the year with Texas' Triple-A Oklahoma ballclub. He posted a 3.47 ERA and a 1-2 record for the RedHawks in five appearances there.

The Twins haven't had an opportunity to see the changes Ponson has made, but the team knows what he has done in the past.

"He's going to spin it up there, and he's going to use them all," Gardenhire said. "He's got a variety of pitches. If something isn't working, he's not afraid to try something else.

"I really enjoyed the heck out of him. But that being said, I hope we knock his socks off."

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

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