With ink dry on extension, Burton grateful for health

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Reliever Jared Burton said Tuesday that he's entering the season without any health restrictions and is grateful for the two-year extension he signed with the Twins this offseason.

The Twins were cautious with Burton last year, as the right-hander was coming off shoulder surgery from the year before while he was with the Reds. They tried to keep away from using him in back-to-back appearances early in the season to ease him into the year.

But Burton, who was signed to a Minor League deal before last season, ended up impressing the Twins by posting a 2.18 ERA in a career-high 62 innings. And he was rewarded with a two-year extension worth $5.5 million this offseason that includes an option for '15.

"It was real nice," Burton said. "I had some bumps in the road, health-wise, in Cincinnati, but to keep working and see it all pay off and be part of this organization for a couple more years is a good thing."

Burton is expected to be the club's top setup reliever this season behind left-handed closer Glen Perkins. He's already throwing bullpen sessions in Fort Myers and said he's feels stronger than at this point last year.

"Health-wise and strength-wise, I'm right where I need to be," Burton said. "I'm anxious to get going."