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Slama making his pitch for the big league roster

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- At some point it's going to be tough for the Twins to keep right-handed reliever Anthony Slama in the Minor Leagues.

After all, Slama has a career 1.99 ERA with 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings in the Minors, including a 1.24 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings with Triple-A Rochester last season.

He would have been a candidate to be called up last season but suffered a broken fibula on a comebacker in early June and missed eight weeks before returning to Rochester late in the season.

It was an unfortunate setback, but he's back in big league camp this spring after being in Minor League camp last year. And so now he is out to prove that his Minor League numbers are no fluke.

"Whenever they throw me out there, I'm just going to pitch my game," said Slama, who posted a 3.68 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 22 innings in the Mexican winter league this offseason. "You can't think about who is pitching ahead of you or behind you or who you're in competition with. You just have to throw your game and not worry about that stuff."

Slama is on the list of those traveling to Sarasota for the Grapefruit League opener against the Orioles on Saturday, but he could also pitch on Sunday against the Rays at Hammond Stadium if he doesn't get a chance to pitch in the first game.

Slama is competing for a spot in the bullpen but isn't on the 40-man roster. It could come down to a numbers game in the bullpen, especially considering that three relievers fighting for spots -- Anthony Swarzak, Tim Wood and Josh Roenicke -- are out of Minor League options.