Happy Birthday–March 11

Bobby Winkles (1930)
Dock Ellis (1945)
Cesar Geronimo (1948)
Phil Bradley (1959)
Bryan Oelkers (1961)
Steve Reed (1965)
Salomon Torres (1972)
Bobby Abreu (1974)
Rich Hill (1980)
Dan Uggla (1980)
Frank Mata (1984)

Bobby Winkles was the head baseball coach at Arizona State from 1959-1971, winning three College World Series titles. He also managed and coached in the major leagues.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to Zack.

Left-hander Bryan Alois Oelkers made ten appearances for the Twins in 1983. Born in Zaragoza, Spain, Oelkers was the second player born in Spain to reach the major leagues (Al Cabrera, one game in 1913). He attended high school in Maryland Heights, Missouri and then attended Wichita State. After being named NCAA picher of the year in 1982, he was drafted by the Twins with the fourth pick of the 1982 draft, famously drafted ahead of Dwight Gooden. He made eight starts in the minors in 1982 and started 1983 in the Twins' starting rotation. He did well in two of his first three starts, but things went downhill after that. After five poor starts and a couple of poor relief appearances, Oelkers was sent to AAA, where he continued to pitch poorly. in 1984, he bounced back to go 16-11, 3.40 at AA Orlando, pitching a surprising 219.2 innings. He could not repeat his success in 1985 and was traded to Cleveland after the season along with Ken Schrom for Ramon Romero and Roy Smith. After nine successful starts in AAA Maine, Oelkers came up to the Indians in early June. Working mostly out of the bullpen, he did a decent but unexceptional job for them. It would be his last major league season. After a bad year at AAA Buffalo in 1987, the Indians let Oelkers go. He pitched at AAA for Montreal and the Cubs in 1988 and for St. Louis in 1989 before ending his playing career. He is a member of the Wichita State Hall of Fame. Bryan Oelkers is currently a senior vice president of customer implementation services for MasterCard Worldwide and is living in the St. Louis area.

Left-hander Richard Joseph Hill comes to the Twins for the 2020 season.  He was born in Boston, went to high school in Milton, Massachusetts, and attended the University of Michigan.  He was drafted three times before finally signing with the Cubs as a fourth-round pick in 2002.  He struggled early in his minor league career but got it going in 2005, starting in AA, moving to AAA, and making ten appearances in the majors.  He was overmatched at the major league level that year, but did better in half a season in the majors in 2006.  2007 was his first full year in the majors and he was a solid starter for the Cubs.  Then, however, he started having injury troubles.  He also started moving around a lot.  He made just five starts for the Cubs in 2008, thirteen for Baltimore in 2009, made six relief appearances for Boston in 2010, and nine more in 2011.  He had a good half-season out of the bullpen for the Red Sox in 2012, then went to Cleveland for 2013 and was awful.  He made just sixteen appearances in 2014 for the Angels and Yankees and four more for Boston in 2015.  He went back to starting in 2015 and when healthy has pitched well ever since.  He made fourteen starts for Oakland in 2016 and then was traded to the Dodgers, where he stayed through 2019.  When he could pitch for the Dodgers he pitched well:  30-16, 3.16, 1.08 WHIP in 69 games.  A free agent after 2019, he signed with Minnesota for 2020.  He pitched well for the Twins, too:  in eight starts he was 2-2, 3.03, 1.16 WHIP over 38.2 innings.  He signed with Tampa Bay for 2021.  He's forty-one and has an injury history, so it's hard to count too heavily on him.  But there's no reason to think he can't still pitch.

Right-handed reliever Frank Jesus Mata did not play for the Twins, but was originally signed by them. He was born in Barcelona, Venezuela, attended high school in Venezuela, and signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 2002. He played in the Venezuelan Summer League for two seasons before coming to Elizabethton in 2004. He pitched quite well there, but then missed the entire 2005 season with an injury. He struggled on his return in 2006 with Class A Beloit. In 2007 and 2008 he pitched well in Ft. Myers, but struggled in both years when promoted to AA New Britain. In New Britain for a full year in 2009, he did better but not all that great and became a free agent after the season. He signed with Baltimore for 2010 and pitched very well in AAA Norfolk, making the majors for a month. He was 0-0, 7.79, 1.85 WHIP in 17.1 innings spread over fifteen games, numbers that are skewed by a few really bad outings. A free agent again after the season, he signed with Florida for 2011, but did not pitch well. He played in the Mexican League in 2012 and played winter ball in Venezuela through 2015.  He also pitched one game for Venezuela in the Bolivarian Games in 2017.  No information about what Frank Mata has done since then was readily available.