Right-handers Kyle Gibson and Carlos Carrasco are looking to prove they belong in the big leagues as a pair of former top prospects who saw their careers derailed by Tommy John surgery.
Both pitchers are set to make their season debuts on Saturday, with Gibson taking the mound for the Twins against Carrasco and the Indians at Progressive Field. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is also looking for career win No. 1,000 after the Indians downed the Twins, 7-2, on Friday in Cleveland's home opener.
Gibson, 26, underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2011, and finally made his debut in the Majors last season. But it didn't go as planned, as he posted a 6.53 ERA in 10 starts.
Gibson, though, was impressive with a 2.20 ERA in Spring Training, and was named the club's fifth starter as a result. And now he believes he's ready to show why he was regarded as a top prospect after being taken by Minnesota in the first round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
"It all hinges on getting ahead and executing once I get ahead," Gibson said. "That was kind of my M.O. last year that I struggled at. It's the difference that I'm going to try to make. I think, in Spring Training, I saw the major difference that happens when I get ahead of guys."
Carrasco, 27, is also looking to bounce back after posting a 6.75 ERA last season in 15 appearances, including seven starts with the Indians.
Like Gibson, he had Tommy John surgery in September 2011, and believes he can take a step forward this year.
"[This season] is really important, because I'm coming from the Tommy John surgery two years ago," Carrasco said. "Last year, I didn't have a good year. I think this is going to be a big year for us and for me, too."
Twins: Gardenhire says he won't use a strict platoon at DH
Chris Colabello and Jason Kubel figure to share duties at designated hitter this season, but Gardenhire said it won't be a platoon with Colabello only facing lefties. He proved that Friday by starting Colabello at DH with right-hander Danny Salazar on the mound, a day after Colabello had a career-high six RBIs against the White Sox. The decision to start Colabello paid off, as he homered in his first at-bat on Friday.
"He had a big day [Thursday], so righty-lefty, it doesn't matter to me," Gardenhire said. "If a guy is swinging good, I'm going to put him out there."
Indians: Kipnis inks six-year extension
Before their home opener on Friday, the Indians announced they signed second baseman Jason Kipnis to a six-year, $52.5 million contract that has a club option for 2020. The contract covers all three of Kipnis' arbitration years (2015-17) and at least two of his free-agent seasons.
"Today is very special," Kipnis said. "It's an amazing feeling to get something done. I wanted to stay here. I'm excited about being here."
• Friday's game featured a rain delay that lasted two hours, and 13 minutes.
• Yan Gomes and Nick Swisher each hit their first homers of the season for the Indians on Friday.
• After starting out the season going 0-for-13, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier picked up three hits on Friday.
• Progressive Field celebrated its 20th anniversary on Friday. The park officially opened as Jacobs Field on April 4, 1994.
• Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi (on the 15-day disabled list with a broken rib in his right side) and Indians manager Terry Francona will sit down this weekend to discuss his rehab plan going forward. Cleveland is still weighing whether the 43-year-old veteran will require a Minor League rehab assignment.