MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-handed reliever Oliver Drake officially joined the Twins on Saturday, and he made history with his first appearance in an 8-2 win over the Royals at Target Field. He worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning in pitching for his fifth team this season, which is a Major League record.
Drake, who was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays on Friday, has pitched for the Brewers, Indians, Angels and Blue Jays this season after beginning the year in the Orioles' system. The 31-year-old posted a 7.57 ERA with 29 strikeouts, 10 walks and two homers in 27 1/3 innings prior to Saturday's game against the Royals at Target Field.
"It's definitely been a long year," Drake said with a laugh. "It's always a good thing to be wanted in this game. My wife definitely would appreciate being a little more settled. She's been moving around a lot with me, and it's kind of chaos. But it's all part of it, it's the lifestyle we live, and we're just making the best of it."
Drake said he's learned to pack light this season because of his travels, crediting his wife, Shannon, for helping him move from city to city. He said the toughest part has been the waiting periods after getting designated for assignment because it's hard to know where you're going to land, and you're not a part of any club so it's difficult to keep a regular throwing routine.
"It feels like when you're grounded and you're watching all your friends play outside, and you can't go play," Drake said. "I'll turn on games, and watch buddies, guys, now there are numerous teams I've played with, so I know a lot of guys. I just want to play, so those days you can't do anything, it feels like you're in timeout. Those are the worst."
Drake, who attended U.S. Naval Academy, has prior Major League experience, posting a career 5.00 ERA with 129 strikeouts, 51 walks and 11 homers allowed in 117 innings over the past four seasons. But this season, he's incorporated a curveball into his mix, to go along with his fastball and splitter.
"Our guys like his stuff," manager Paul Molitor said. "A little bit of a cut fastball with low to mid 90s velocity and the split finger has been the pitch for him for a while, and he's also mixed in a curveball that they say for the first year of using the pitch he's been effective. We will get a good look at him."
Drake said he hopes to stick with the Twins, but given the way this season has gone, he's trying to take it day by day. For now, he's keeping his sense of humor about this season and said he'll have some souvenirs from his record-setting journey.
"I do have jerseys from all of them," Drake said. "So the man cave will have a lot of jerseys. It'll be a heck of a story."
• The Twins held a pregame ceremony before Saturday's game to honor two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, who was officially inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. Santana is joining rare company as only the 21st Twins player to be inducted. There have been 827 players in club history, so roughly only 2.5 percent make the club's Hall of Fame.
"A lot of our guys, it's good to know our club's history, but I think when you get into the environment of a Hall of Fame ceremony and you see all the faces, it's meaningful," Molitor said. "It's a good way for our organization to bridge generation to generation. Our Hall of Fame has done a really nice job of putting it together the last few years."
• Right-hander Michael Pineda, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery in July 2017, will officially begin his rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Twins on Monday. Pineda, who signed a two-year deal before the season, remains on track to be ready to join the Twins as a September callup.
• Right-hander Aaron Slegers, on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, made his first rehab start with Triple-A Rochester on Saturday. He's expected to make at least one more rehab outing before being activated. He's likely to be optioned to Rochester once healthy.