Perkins has a 0.00 ERA in 9 1/3 innings after making the Opening Day roster for the first time since 2008. He's been so reliable -- only six hits allowed in 10 appearances -- that manager Ron Gardenhire has penciled the lefty in as the eighth-inning setup man.
"I'm healthy now, and I've been put in situations where I've had a chance to succeed," Perkins said. "That's the big thing for me now."
Perkins, 28, was the team's first-round pick in the 2004 draft because he fit the mold of a Twins starter. He didn't overpower anyone, but he threw multiple pitches and had shown at the University of Minnesota he understood the mental part of the game.
He made 44 starts for the Twins before a mysterious shoulder injury ended his 2009 season and ran him afoul of the team. Though an MRI turned up negative, Perkins said he wasn't well enough to pitch.
That proved to be true last season, when he struggled at Class AAA Rochester. At the end of May, he was 0-6 with a 9.09 ERA. But he got stronger, signed a one-year, $700,000 deal for 2011 and pitched well in spring training.
Now he's being relied upon at the major league for the first time in two years.
"My arm has never felt better," Perkins said. "It's exciting to be able to go out and play catch every day. It's been awhile since my arm felt this good consistently. It's a nice feeling."
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