After being released earlier this week, Craig Breslow was claimed by the Oakland Athletics and thus pitched his last game in a Minnesota uniform on Tuesday.
A graduate of Yale University, Breslow started his professional baseball career at the age of 21 with Milwaukee's rookie league affiliate, Ogden. He also spent 2003 and some of 2004 in the Brewers organization before playing in an independent league in New Jersey for the rest of 2004. In 2005, he re-joined a big league organization, playing for the Padres AA and AAA affiliate, and even reached the big league club on July 23rd. He had a total of 14 appearances that season, with the majority of them coming in September.
The next year, he moved to the Boston organization and spent the most of the year at AAA, and continued to show promise by allowing only 49 hits in 67 innings and striking out 77 batters against 24 walks. He got into one Major League game in both July and August before getting a September call-up. Despite a decent performance, he would spend all of 2007 in AAA-Pawtucket, throwing 68.2 innings and posting a similar 73:25 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but allowing 70 hits this time around.
Perhaps for this reason, the Indians were able to land Breslow, who then made the team out of Spring Training. He pitched sparingly, though, appearing in only 7 of the team's first 46 games and throwing a total of 8 1/3 innings before being designated for assignment. Although he had a tidy 3.24 ERA, he was sporting a 7:5 K:BB ratio, and had also given up 10 hits in his brief time on the mound.
Nonetheless, the Twins claimed him and immediately threw him into the mix. He wound up sticking with the big league club and pitched much more in the Majors than he had total before the 2008 season. The results were pretty good, as he ended the year with 1.91 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, including 1.63 and 0.98 with Minnesota. Those numbers set him up to be an important cog in the bullpen this year.
Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. Breslow struggled with his control, walking as many batters as he struck out, and surrendering more home runs (3) in 14 1/3 innings than he had previously in his entire big league career (2). That was enough for the Twins to cut him loose, as they figured Sean Henn was a better option. In all, Breslow threw 53 innings in 59 games for the Twins over parts of two seasons.
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