Guardado grateful for return to Twins
Left-hander 'had no clue' that Minnesota would come calling
SEATTLE -- Eddie Guardado was sitting in his hotel room in Kansas City early on Monday afternoon when the phone rang and Rangers manager Ron Washington was on the other end.Immediately, Guardado said he knew his time with the Rangers had come to an end. But learning the news of exactly where he was headed in the trade came as a bit of a shock to the left-hander. "I had no clue," Guardado said of going back to the Twins. "It still hasn't hit me yet. I started here and was here for 14 years. But I see a lot of new faces and I'm glad to be a part of it again." Saying goodbye to his teammates in Texas wasn't easy for Guardado, but he hurried to Seattle as quickly as he could. He joined his new Twins teammates by the start of Monday night's game at Safeco Field. It was a different feeling walking into the Twins' clubhouse this time around for Guardado. The coaching staff is the same as when he left, but most of the players have changed. In a clubhouse that is quite young, Guardado admitted that he feels like a veteran. "I feel old, but I feel good," Guardado said with a laugh. "It's funny. I get here and a lot of young faces, no doubt. But I feel good physically, coming back from Tommy John surgery, and it's always good when somebody wants you in a pennant race. Hopefully, I stay healthy and help this team." Guardado was already able to do that by pitching a scoreless eighth inning in Monday night's loss. Although the Twins weren't able to take advantage of Guardado's hold after Joe Nathan blew just his fourth save of the season in the ninth inning, manager Ron Gardenhire said he was pleased by what he saw from his former closer. "Three up and three down is a really good thing," Gardenhire said. "I like that more than anything. His stuff, we know he's not overpowering, but he locates and he uses his changeup and uses his slider. He knows the hitters in this league too. He knows that team [Seattle] very well, the guys that he faced last night. He's seen them enough to know how he would attack them. So I think that's probably pretty good." Guardado acknowledged that the loss on Monday was tough -- as is every loss in August and September when you are playing for something, he said. But that didn't keep Guardado from displaying his usual happy-go-lucky nature when talking to reporters as he discussed returning to the team that has always held a special place in his heart. "Minnesota has always been good to me. That's where I started, and they gave me the opportunity first to play in the big leagues," he said. "I spent 11 years there and to be back now, I couldn't ask for anything more."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.