LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former Kentucky standout southpaw Logan Darnell made his MLB debut for the Minnesota Twins, firing three perfect innings, retiring all nine hitters he faced, in a 4-1 Twins loss at the Cleveland Indians, on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
A native of Joelton, Tenn., Darnell came on in relief of Twins starter Samuel Deduno to start the sixth inning. Darnell got Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall to ground out and former Tennessee catcher Yan Gomes to fly out to centerfield to end his first big-league inning. Darnell then got line outs from Jose Ramirez, Ryan Raburn and Nick Swisher to end the seventh inning.
Darnell started the bottom of the eighth inning with his first MLB strikeout, of Indians outfielder Michael Brantley, before getting Carlos Santana to pop out and David Murphy to ground out back to the mound.
In 2014, Darnell has made four starts in triple-A for the Twins, alongside his former UK teammate Alex Meyer (2009-11). He posted a 1.50 ERA in 21.1 innings, allowing just 15 hits and seven walks, striking out 21. In his five-year minor league career, Darnell appeared in 96 games and made 89 starts, owning a 34-31 record and a 3.98 ERA, working 516 innings, walking 142 and striking out 361.
A sixth-round pick out of Kentucky in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Twins, Darnell stared for the Wildcats from 2008-10 as a weekend starter and late-inning reliever. In his career, Darnell appeared in 57 games and made 11 starts, totaling four saves in 137.1 innings pitched, walking 62 and striking out 114. Darnell posted a 10-9 career record and a 5.05 career ERA. UK moved Darnell to the starting rotation entering the 2010 season and he flourished early in the season, winning at top-15 foes Coastal Carolina and San Diego in his first three career starts.
Darnell is the 30th all-time Kentucky player to see time in the big leagues, dating back to Jim Park in 1911 with the St. Louis Browns. Darnell joins his former teammates, Collin Cowgill (Los Angeles Angels), James Paxton (Seattle Mariners) and Chris Rusin (Chicago Cubs), to see MLB time in 2014. In addition, former UK great southpaw Scott Downs (Chicago White Sox) and former outfielder Jason Kipnis (Indians) are currently playing in the big leagues. Last year, former UK southpaw Andrew Albers – the Twins 2013 MiLB Pitcher of the Year – made his MLB debut for the Twins, before signing in the offseason with a professional league in Korea. Darnell, Paxton and Rusin are the first three players in the six-year tenure of head coach Gary Henderson to make the big leagues, with Henderson recruiting, and serving as the associate head coach, during Cowgill’s and Kipnis’ time with the Wildcats. Henderson has now coached a total of 31 big league players in his collegiate career.