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Reed anchors rotation

Veteran pitcher only starter with playoff experience

By Dave Campbell

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS --

After the All-Star break, Rick Reed made this statement to a few of his Minnesota Twins teammates:

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"You get me there, and I'll carry you the rest of the way through."

Reed wasn't lying.

Reed finished the season 15-7 with a 3.78 ERA, with just 26 walks in 188 innings pitched in his first full year with the Twins.

"He said he'd carry us, and he's a man of his word," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "Reed's been pitching very well."

Reed, with the nonchalance typical of the entire Twins rotation, shrugs off his recent success.

"I'm throwing the same old garbage out there," Reed said, "and right now they're not hitting it. Or they're hitting it at somebody. I don't go out there and set up mirrors or smoke machines or anything. It's the same old stuff."

His teammates are more emphatic.

"He's carried us for a long time here," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.

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The Twins weren't sure whether they'd have Reed this year, since the veteran exercised a clause in his contract request a trade during a winter in which contraction -- not contention -- dominated news about the team.

"It was always a question," Gardenhire said. "Once we got that settled, we knew we had a good pitcher in place. The last two months or so, fans have seen a very good Rick Reed. He's doing what he's supposed to do and doing what got him the big contracts in the first place.

"I hate to point fingers and say this guy's been the best. We count on them all."

Reed is the only player on the roster with playoff experience -- he pitched for the New York Mets in the World Series in 2000.

Coming into the season, Radke was still the ace with Milton and Mays -- both All-Stars last season -- close behind. But the injuries, Reed's consistency and the success of Lohse and Santana have thrown the pecking order out of whack.

Reed has missed a few starts with minor ailments, but it's nothing compared to the maladies that have plagued the rest of the Twins' pitching staff. Joe Mays was out for three months with inflammation in his elbow, Brad Radke missed 21⁄2; months with a pulled groin and Eric Milton was out for a month with a knee injury.

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