Samuel Deduno entered spring training with an outside chance of making the Minnesota Twins' rotation. His performance at the World Baseball Classic might have given him an edge.
Deduno is scheduled to return to Twins spring training camp Thursday after helping the Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico 3-0 in the championship game of the WBC. Deduno pitched five innings of two-hit ball to earn the win.
"It was fun to watch," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Wednesday, when the game between Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota was rained out. "It was very, very enjoyable to watch him out there. We were very happy to let him go over there, and now we're happy to get him back. I think it says an awful lot about him."
With less than two weeks until the start of regular season, the Twins now will figure out how to fit Deduno into exhibition games as he rejoins the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation.
He is up against Cole De Vries, P.J. Walters and Liam Hendriks.
Gardenhire said he and pitching coach Rick Anderson would figure out the schedule over the next two days.
The 29 year-old right-hander Deduno was 6-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts last season for the Twins. The native of La Romana in the Dominican Republic originally signed with the Colorado Rockies in 2003, pitching in the big leagues for them in 2010 before being claimed off waivers in 2011 by the San Diego Padres.
Deduno signed with the Twins as a minor league free agent heading into 2012.
Deduno then raised his profile with his WBC performance. He struck out five clincher. He walked three and finished the tournament with a 0.69 ERA.
"He showed a lot of presence, and he did the job," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "It was good to see. He did a great job pitching for the Dominican Republic. Now we're hoping he'll do a great job for the Minnesota Twins."
NOTES: Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe is almost set to return to Grapefruit League action following soreness in his left calf. He will play for the third consecutive day in a minor league game Thursday and return to action Friday if all goes well.