By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Twins hope they need closer Brandon Kintzler Tuesday night when they take on the Chicago White Sox.

It usually means they have the lead. And his journey to the big leagues has been a grind rewarded by perseverance.

Brandon Kintzler has become accustomed to playing in the big leagues, and playing the role of closer. It’s come through success.

“Before you’re just trying to be someone to prove yourself to show everyone that you can do it. Just do your job, try to help your team win no matter the situation,” Kintzler said. “Don’t worry about what the stats say, whatever inning it is.”

But Kintzler’s road to the big leagues had many detours, including a stop not far from Target Field in St. Paul, playing for the Saints.

Yes it was at the old Midway Stadium. He got a chance, and pitched his way to an opportunity.

“Playing at Midway, that was a great experience. They took very good care of me,” Kitzler said. “The fact that I got traded there was a blessing in disguise for me. I knew going there I was going to get a chance to pitch in front of more scouts and possibly start an All-Star game.”

When a player does it the hard way and fights his way to the show, he earns respect from teammates.

“I’m a firm believer in high draft picks and stuff like that and given talent and all that kind of stuff, but it doesn’t translate unless you work your tail off like he’s done,” Brian Dozier said. “To get to where he’s at right now, he’s had some obstacles and stuff.”

A long way from St. Paul, but a very short ride.

“You always have in the back of your head that some day, getting there really is a reality. When you’re there, the big leagues are so far away but you realize you’re so close,” Kintzler said. “You’ve really got to try to remember that.”

Mike Max