Gibson gearing up to face old Twins 'mates

May 3rd, 2021

Rangers right-hander is making a case for Comeback Player of the Year honors. Entering Monday’s series opener vs. the Twins, he had three wins and a 2.16 ERA, which ranked fifth in the American League.

But last year, his first with Texas, was a different story. He went 2-6 with a 5.35 ERA and had a tough time getting people out; it didn’t help that he wasn’t fully recovered from E. coli, an illness he contracted during a 2018-19 offseason missionary trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Now 100 percent healthy, Gibson credits his offseason workouts as the reason for his success this year. The one thing he noticed is that his delivery needed to be consistent. When he is able to execute pitches, his confidence is sky high, and he believes he can get outs.

“Besides the health, this was the first year I really didn’t stop throwing,” Gibson said. “I did a more active rest period during October and November. I then got in touch with Randy Sullivan at the Florida Baseball ARMory. ... I talked to him and had him look at some video and had him draw up some workout programs to help me specifically on the mound.

“[Sullivan] doesn’t want guys that could lift heavy weights. Yeah, that makes you strong, but he wants you to move down on the mound better. In coordination with what I wanted to clean up on the mound from last year and coordinate with the workouts, it really [was a] good offseason.”

Gibson’s next start comes on Tuesday, against Minnesota, the team that employed his services from 2013-19. He won 67 games for the Twins and helped them reach the postseason in 2017 and 2019. He is grateful for his time with them, and acknowledged there may be some nervousness when he steps on the mound at Target Field.

“The Midwest feel of Minnesota felt like we were always in Missouri and Indiana, raising kids back home. It was a fun place to call home,” said Gibson, who grew up in Indiana and attended the University of Missouri.

Gibson's former teammates are eager to see him on a mound for the first time since 2019.

“I expect him to be really looking forward to going out there and facing a bunch of his old teammates, and I look forward to seeing him out there. Gibby did some really good things for us, and he's a great guy, too," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Twins center fielder Byron Buxton hasn’t seen Gibson since 2019, so he has to figure out how much has changed for Gibson on the mound.

“Nobody is ever the same each year. It's one of those things where you've still got to do your homework and go out there and try to get that 'W,'” Buxton said.