By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s spring training for Kyle Gibson. A time to interact with fans, a time to get ready for a season.

“It’s kind of a mix between the number of pitches you throw and the number of innings you throw,” Gibson said. “I think it’s important to get to six innings in a start, because once you get to that fourth, fifth, sixth range, especially if you have a couple long innings at the beginning of the game, you’re really kind of pushing the limits on your endurance and that’s where you can kind of build that up a little bit.”

He is part of a rotation that has been bolstered, and that means something over 162 games.

“I think it’s a good combination of positive momentum for starters, but I think also you can get the other team in a negative momentum and a negative feeling as an offense as well,” Gibson said. “I think that goes hand in hand, where it might be just as much as – say Lance or Ervin can get a couple good starts in for Berrios or whoever’s on down the line, then we can kind of have an offense that are on their heels already.”

Last year it took a trip to the minors to get him ready for a second half surge. He won games and learned a little about what he needs to be at the big league level.

“Confidence was for sure a big part of it, but using my fastball was a lot different. Trying to make sure that I used it in the zone, used it consistently in the zone,” Gibson said. “I like the word attack, but I’m always trying to throw strikes. Sometimes I’m just a little bit more on the edge of the plate or the bottom of the zone.”

What he learned this spring is this team expects to win right now. And that’s a good thing.

“You look at the moves the front office has made. It gives us a lot of confidence down here,” Gibson said. “We were already really confident with the offense we had and the starters that we had and after the bullpen moves they made, we’re pretty confident in what we got. But the fact that they’re still going to trade for a guy like Odorizzi, pick up a guy like Lynn. I think it kind of shows, one, that we knew we were ready to contend.”

Mike Max