Lefty Andrew Albers makes his major-league debut on the mound Tuesday night when the Minnesota Twins visit Kauffman Stadium for the second of three games with the host Kansas City Royals.
The 27-year-old Albers was a 10th-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2004 out of the University of Kentucky and pitched one season in the San Diego system, going 1-0 in five appearances in Single-A.
He appeared in 40 games as a reliever for an independent team in Quebec in 2010, then latched on with the Minnesota organization and spent 2011 in Fort Myers and New Britain before again splitting 2012 between Single-A and Double- A.
Triple-A Rochester of the American Association was his home for 22 starts before the call-up, and Albers was 11-5 with a 2.86 earned run average through 132 1/3 innings with 116 strikeouts.
He also pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic this spring.
"From just listening to (Rochester manager) Gene Glynn talk and guys that know him from around here, he's a competitor, a great guy for the club, a great clubhouse presence," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
"He doesn't have a lot of velocity, but he really knows how to pitch. He can cut the ball in hard and locate the baseball."
He's opposed by Kansas City's James Shields, who has picked up four of his victories on the season over his last seven starts.
The veteran workhorse was 2-6 with a gaudy 2.92 ERA through his initial 16 starts of 2013, but has since gone 4-1, including a 7-2 defeat of Minnesota in his last start on Aug. 1.
In that game, his 13th career meeting with the Twins, Shields went six innings, allowed five hits and two runs and struck out four batters in improving to 6-2 against Minnesota.
He's just 1-4 in 10 home starts this season, his first in Kansas City, and is 3-5 in 14 career outings at Kauffman Stadium.
On Monday, Jeremy Guthrie tossed his second career shutout as the Royals dismantled the Twins, 13-0, in the opener.
Guthrie (12-7) scattered four hits and a walk while striking out seven to reach the 12-win plateau for the first time in his career. The right-hander also tossed a shutout on May 4 earlier this season.
Eric Hosmer went 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBI, while Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar finished with two RBI apiece for the Royals, who are 14-3 since the All-Star break.
Kevin Correia (7-8) was touched for six runs on seven hits in just two innings.
The Royals won 10 of the first 13 meetings between the teams in 2013, including four in a row from June 30-Aug. 1.