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Jun 3, 2024 5:29 pm

Rising star Luis Gil leads Yankees against Twins

luis gil

Luis Gil was a minor leaguer who began his professional career with the Minnesota Twins until a relatively small trade sent him to the New York Yankees during the middle of spring training.

More than six years later, Gil will take the mound as the American League Pitcher and Rookie of the Month, and his first opponent since winning the award will be the Twins on Tuesday night when the red-hot Yankees return home from a wildly successful nine-game West Coast trip.

Gil (7-1, 1.99 ERA) made his pro debut for the Twins’ Dominican Summer League team with 16 relief appearances in 2015 and 14 starts in 2017. After pitching to a 2.59 ERA in his second pro season, the Twins dealt him to the Yankees for outfielder Jake Cave in March 2018.

Gil debuted in 2021, when he posted a 3.07 ERA on six starts, but made one start for the Yankees in 2022 before needing Tommy John surgery. After spending virtually all of last season recovering, Gil earned a spot in the rotation due to Gerrit Cole’s elbow injury and heads into Tuesday attempting to become New York’s first eight-game winner while also leading the Yankees with 79 strikeouts and 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

Gil went 6-0 with a 0.70 ERA in his six starts in May. He also has won his past seven decisions since taking his only loss in Toronto on April 15.

The right-hander’s contribution to New York’s 7-2 road trip came Wednesday, when he pitched a career-best eight innings and allowed one run on two hits in a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Gil struck out nine and has fanned 31 in his past three starts.

“I don’t think anyone’s really surprised within the clubhouse or the organization,” New York shortstop Anthony Volpe said last week. “But the level he’s doing it (at) and the lineups he’s doing it against, I think we’re all just blown away.”

Gil has helped power New York’s 22-6 run, and his last start began a five-game winning streak. The Yankees concluded the trip with Sunday’s 7-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants when Juan Soto hit two home runs, including a go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth inning.

The Twins were outscored 14-1 when they were swept by the Yankees at home last month. That showing was part of a 5-10 slump that followed a 12-game winning streak.

But Minnesota is 9-3 over its past 12 and took two of three from the Houston Astros over the weekend. Minnesota ended the series with a 4-3 victory on Sunday, when Jose Miranda homered and hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning.

The Twins will be getting a boost to their lineup, as Royce Lewis is expected to return from a severe right quadriceps strain he sustained in the season opener. Lewis has played only 71 games in the majors due to numerous injuries and went 4-for-23 on a rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul. His return is not expected to impact Miranda, who is hitting .280.

“Him coming up big in a lot of those games for us offensively, it’s been huge,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s been one of the guys that has really stepped up and produced when we’ve really needed it.”

Bailey Ober (5-3, 4.89) will start for Minnesota and face the Yankees for the first time in his career. He allowed six runs on nine hits in five innings in a 6-1 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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