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Perkins excelling in closer role

MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Glen Perkins has excelled as closer in the second half of the season, and is making a case to become the Twins' closer of the future.

Perkins is just one of four closers in the Majors without a blown save since the All-Star break, as he's posted a 1.59 ERA with seven saves in 22 appearances since then.

Going back to June 12, Perkins has a 1.77 ERA while going 11-for-12 in save opportunities, with 35 strikeouts and five walks in 35 2/3 innings.

He's split some time with right-hander reliever Jared Burton as closer, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire indicated on Sunday that Perkins has essentially taken over that role.

"I've got no problem with Perk being my closer," Gardenhire said. "I like it. I like handing him the ball and watching him wing it against lefties or righties. It doesn't matter."

Gardenhire said there's an advantage to using Perkins in high-leverage situations in the seventh and eighth innings, but that Perkins has established himself as a stopper in the ninth inning.

"There is especially with a guy with an arm like that, but you still have to have somebody finish it off," Gardenhire said. "He's able to do that. You can't use him in both spots. So that's why we're going to use [Brian] Duensing in the seventh and eighth innings. And Burton, we don't want to put too much of a workload on him."

MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Glen Perkins has excelled as closer in the second half of the season, and is making a case to become the Twins' closer of the future.

Perkins is just one of four closers in the Majors without a blown save since the All-Star break, as he's posted a 1.59 ERA with seven saves in 22 appearances since then.

Going back to June 12, Perkins has a 1.77 ERA while going 11-for-12 in save opportunities, with 35 strikeouts and five walks in 35 2/3 innings.

He's split some time with right-hander reliever Jared Burton as closer, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire indicated on Sunday that Perkins has essentially taken over that role.

"I've got no problem with Perk being my closer," Gardenhire said. "I like it. I like handing him the ball and watching him wing it against lefties or righties. It doesn't matter."

Gardenhire said there's an advantage to using Perkins in high-leverage situations in the seventh and eighth innings, but that Perkins has established himself as a stopper in the ninth inning.

"There is especially with a guy with an arm like that, but you still have to have somebody finish it off," Gardenhire said. "He's able to do that. You can't use him in both spots. So that's why we're going to use [Brian] Duensing in the seventh and eighth innings. And Burton, we don't want to put too much of a workload on him."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.