By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
After three seasons with the Orix Buffaloes of the Japan Pacific League, left-hander Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) has signed a minor league deal to return to the Minnesota Twins.
The deal, which includes an invitation to big league spring training, was announced by True Gravity Baseball, the agency headed by Toronto native Blake Corosky that represents Albers, on Twitter on Monday.
After suffering a back injury in 2019, Albers rebounded to be a key starter for his Japanese club in 2020, posting a 3.66 ERA in 17 games, while striking out 70 in 96 innings. His first season with the Buffaloes was his finest when he went 9-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 19 starts in 2018.
On top of his successful tenure in Japan, Albers has posted a 4.10 ERA in 26 appearances in parts of four major league seasons with the Twins, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.
In January, the Twins added former Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ to their starting rotation on a one-year, $8-million deal. The Twins also have right-handers Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda and Randy Dobnak in their starting rotation. But Albers would seem to be a strong candidate to work as a long man out of the club’s bullpen and to fill in as a starter when needed.
Albers was also a member of the Canadian Senior National Teams that won gold at the Pan Am Games in 2011 and 2015.
In all, the 35-year-old lefty has pitched in 12 professional seasons and owns a 3.63 ERA in 304 appearances, including 154 starts, spanning 1,341 2/3 innings.