Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/27/12
Next week, Minnesota Twins prospect Kyle Gibson will leave Fort Myers, Fla., for a weeklong mission trip in the Dominican Republic. After that, the 25-year-old right-hander will spend as much time with his family as he can this offseason and take his mind off of baseball, at least for a little while. After all, this upcoming spring will be a big one for Gibson. The Minnesota Twins' 2009 first-round pick has yet to pitch in the major leagues. He missed almost all of the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Now, he'll be in the mix for a spot in the rotation on a Minnesota team that desperately needs starting pitching. With that said, the 25-year-old Gibson won't take anything for granted once he joins the rest of the Twins pitchers in spring training. "I had a chat with (Twins general manager) Terry Ryan and the front office. They essentially told me to go out there and keep doing what I'm doing and get guys out and hopefully earn a spot on the 25-man roster as they go north," Gibson said this week in a phone interview. "Everybody that goes into big league spring training has that goal. Everybody wants to break with the team. As soon as the Twins let me know what my role is, I'm going to work as hard as I can to be one of those guys that's able to fill his role and hopefully go up north after spring training." Gibson was on track to perhaps break camp with the Twins last spring that is, until he started experiencing arm pain while pitching with Triple-A Rochester late during the 2011 season. After trying to work through some discomfort, it was ultimately discovered that Gibson needed reconstruction surgery on his elbow. The mere uttering of "Tommy John surgery" yields plenty of reactions in baseball these days. Of course, there's the knowledge of the timeline associated with the surgery. Typically, it takes about a year for a player to return to pitching. But in this day and age, baseball players usually, pitchers have proven that it's possible to come back just as strong as they were before the surgery, if not stronger. Gibson learned that lesson recently while pitching in the Arizona Fall League. The right-hander said his velocity on his fastball was where he wanted it to be and that his fastball and sinker had the same movement as they did before his surgery. Gibson made six starts for the Peoria Javelinas and went 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA. In those three wins, he allowed just one run, struck out 19 batters and walked two in 13 innings. In the two losses, he struck out five batters but allowed nine runs in 5 13 total innings. "I had some good outings, had some bad outings," he said. "I'm still working on my consistency after getting back from surgery." The consistency may still be a work in progress, but the biggest thing for Gibson was that he emerged from the Arizona Fall League with a clean bill of health. In the AFL and several starts in the minors late in the season, he pitched about 70 innings combined. "He did a nice job," Ryan said of Gibson's performance in the AFL. "He stayed healthy and he didn't miss any turns, had no setbacks in his rehab and therapy and so forth. We were pleased to get him up to about 75 innings for the year, which is where we had hoped to get him to. "He'll come into major league camp on the roster and fight for a spot." Twins fans will likely be clamoring for Gibson to make the rotation out of spring training. In 2012, Minnesota's rotation had the worst ERA in the American League, and the Twins currently have one pitcher (left-hander Scott Diamond) who appears to have a spot secured in the 2013 rotation. But Gibson knows he'll have his work cut out for him. The biggest thing he'll have to prove is that he's healthy. The innings he pitched in the minors and the Arizona Fall League were a good start, but it will be a different story when he's facing major league hitters during the spring. If he doesn't make the 25-man roster out of spring training, Gibson will simply use it as motivation. "I think the Twins have always been really upfront with me. They've always said, Whenever you're ready, then we'll call you up,'" Gibson said. "If they think I'm not ready, they'll send me to Rochester or wherever they send me and they'll give me the things I need to work on. If that's the case, I'll go there and work hard and try to get up there as fast as I can and hopefully make an impact and help the team win. "Just because I don't get sent up north, it's not something for me to get disappointed in or pout about because that means I just have things I need to work on and it's time to get to work." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Ohio State DL Dylan Thompson ineligible for season

Roger Federer will miss Olympics, U.S. Open with knee injury

Seahawks extend Pete Carroll through 2019

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye releases first statement following car crash

Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

Jeremy Lin reportedly looking to trademark phrase ‘Brook-Lin’

Matt Leinart engaged to actress Josie Loren

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

Report: Paul Pierce to return to Clippers

Jimbo Fisher: You come to FSU to win national championships

Andre Johnson worked out for Tennessee Titans

Shattenkirk for Krejci trade rumor still floating around

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman denies link to C.T.E.

Michael Vick: Cam Newton can’t beat me in 40-yard dash

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

Odell Beckham Jr. says Giants will play in Super Bowl LI

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker