Club hopes Wood can follow Burton's lead

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins struck gold last season when Jared Burton developed into a shutdown reliever after joining the club on a Minor League deal.

And now they're hoping the same from fellow right-hander Tim Wood, who was a Minor League free agent this offseason and signed a Major League deal with the club with an invitation to Spring Training in November. He originally signed a Minor League deal with the Twins, but the club signed him to a Major League deal worth $675,000 to avoid exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft.

Wood was honored by Baseball America as the best reliever in the International League for a second straight year, posting a 2.19 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 70 innings with Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate last season.

"The last two years, something clicked and I'd like to keep it going, especially from last year," Wood said. "I'd like to keep that rolling. I have confidence I can get big league hitters out."

Wood has a shot to make the club as a reliever out of Spring Training, and said that's his ultimate goal heading into the year.

"I'm looking forward to making the big league team because that's the reason I'm here," Wood said. "Coming in, I have to win a job. Nothing is handed out in this game. So I need to do what I have to do and take care of business, and hopefully I'll be back here in April and help the Twins win."