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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Stan State Alum Joe Ryan Named Minnesota Twins 2022 Opening Day Starter

Joe Ryan, who pitched for Stanislaus State in 2018, has been named the Opening Day starting pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. When he takes the mound on April 7 against the Seattle Mariners, the 25-year-old Ryan will become the first Twins rookie since Tom Hall in 1969 to be the team’s Opening Day starter.
“It’s an honor that he’s earned and an honor that he can absolutely handle in everybody’s opinion over here. I was very pleased to be able to give him this news,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli
Ryan has impressed Twins coaches in his two spring training starts against the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox, striking out six batters while only allowing three hits and a walk in a combined five innings.
After hearing the news that he was named the starting pitcher for Opening Day, Ryan expressed his gratitude and excitement.
“It was pretty exciting. I mean, obviously it’s something I’ve thought about in the past, but not really expecting that. It’s just an honor to get that nod,” he said.
The nod was also something most people around Major League Baseball may not have been expecting. This offseason, the Twins signed a pair of veteran pitchers with past major league success. Former Cy Young award finalist and two-time All-Star Sonny Gray signed with Minnesota on March 13 and tossed our perfect innings in a spring training start on April 3. Fellow two-time All-Star Chris Archer joined the Minnesota starting rotation on March 28. 
Baldelli explained that he would like Gray and Archer to get more innings under their belt considering they both joined the team so late into spring training. As Ryan prepares to be front and center at Target Field on Opening Day and pitching in front of the bonafide veterans, he is trying to keep things simple.
“It’s the first game of 162. It’s a great honor, it’s special, but at the same time it’s just the first start, so that’s how I’m going to take it,” he said
Ryan has been with the organization for nine months after he was acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent potential future Hall of Fame slugger Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays. During his time with Minnesota, Ryan has achieved much success domestically and abroad. At the time of the trade, he was in Tokyo, Japan preparing to represent the United States in the Olympics. After having two stellar Olympic starts that helped the Americans win a silver medal, Ryan was called up to make his major league debut on Sept. 1. 
Ryan finished his short 2021 campaign in the big leagues with a 2-1 record, 4.05 ERA and 30 strikeouts while only surrendering five walks and an opponents batting average of .168.
Former Twins pitcher and National Baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven spoke to Mike Max of WCCO 830’s Sports to the Max about Ryan and believes he will take the next step in his young career.
“I got to watch Joe Ryan pitch,” Blyleven said. “[He’s a] very impressive young man and has a good idea what he’s doing out there.”
Ryan and the Twins will be facing reigning American League Cy Young award winner Robbie Ray as he makes his debut for his new team in Seattle. First pitch for the matchup is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PST.


UPDATE: Thursday’s game has been postponed due to inclement weather in the Minneapolis area and will instead be played on Friday at the regularly scheduled time.

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Stan State Alum Joe Ryan Named Minnesota Twins 2022 Opening Day Starter