Odorizzi only threw two innings during Grapefruit League play, but he honed his offspeed pitches and built up to 52 pitches on the backfields against minor-league hitters prior to the shutdown, LaVelle E. Neal of the Star Tribune reports. Odorizzi, who is coming off the best season of his career, likes to work on his pitches during spring training in a simulated game environment, where he is less focused on trying to get out of an inning. The Twins supported him in this approach, although he would have gotten into more Grapefruit League games had spring training continued. He was unwilling to shed any light on what exactly he was working on, although he said he really likes the shape of his offspeed pitches and values seeing how hitters react to those pitches in that informal environment -- few of the hitters were able to make contact.
Odorizzi will accept a qualifying offer from Minnesota, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Odorizzi will sign a one-year, $17.8 million contract as a result. Odorizzi is coming off the best season of his career with 15 wins, a 3.51 ERA and career-best 27.1 percent strikeout rate. His return is a big boost to the Twins, who previously only had Jose Berrios set to return among their top four starters.
Odorizzi will receive a qualifying offer from the Twins, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Heading into his age-30 season, Odorizzi would presumably like to capitalize on his 3.51 ERA and career-best 27.1 percent strikeout rate with a multi-year deal. He's not at the elite level which makes rejecting the one-year, $17.8 million offer a no-brainer, but the Twins likely don't expect much more than draft-pick compensation from their offer. It's still conceivable that he takes the deal, however, especially if he's afraid of the adverse effect it will have on his market.
Odorizzi will start Game 3 of the ALDS against the Yankees on Monday, Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com reports. Odorizzi hasn't pitched since Sept. 24 against Detroit, so he'll be well rested for Monday's matchup. He posted a 3.51 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with a 178:53 K:BB over 159 innings during the regular season but will face a tough New York lineup Monday.
Odorizzi is no longer scheduled to start Sunday's game against the Royals. He had been listed as the starter for the season finale earlier in the week, but the Twins will opt to rest their No. 2 starter in favor of giving Martin Perez the ball Sunday. Odorizzi dealt with a tight left hamstring in his last start, but it was a minor issue. He is expected to start Game 2 of the ALDS on Oct. 5.
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