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Twins Come Calling Again, Make Pitcher Mark Hamburger 113th Saint to Have Contract Purchased

September 3, 2013 - American Association (AA) - St. Paul Saints News Release

ST. PAUL, MN (September 3, 2013) - Two years ago the Minnesota Twins purchased the contract of a St. Paul Saints relief pitcher with impressive numbers. Caleb Thielbar is now the member of the Twins pitching staff with the lowest ERA in 2013. This time they will try their luck with record-setting starting pitcher Mark Hamburger. Hamburger becomes the fifth Saint to be signed by the Major League club across the river.

The 26-year old Hamburger was a stalwart at the top of the Saints rotation in his first season pitching solely as a starter. In 21 starts the hard-throwing right-hander was 6-8 with a 3.28 ERA. Hamburger struck out 120 while walking just 47 and held opposing hitters to a .275 batting average against him.

While finishing the year among the American Association's leaders in ERA and strikeouts, Hamburger also made sure to leave his mark in the franchise's record book. He finished 2013 as the single-season leader in strikeouts, innings pitched (149.0), and complete games (5) and is tied with teammate Anthony Claggett and Robert Coe (2012) for most starts made in a season with 21.

Hamburger becomes the seventh player this season to have his contract purchased by a Major League organization. Pitchers Robert Coe (Diamondbacks twice), Connor Whalen (White Sox) and Cole Nelson (Braves), infielders Craig Brazell (Hanshin Tigers) and Brad Boyer (Twins), and catcher Nick Ammirati (Mariners) have all had their contracts purchased in 2013. The Saints have had 113 contracts purchased, by 107 different players, in their 21-year history. Six players have had their contracts purchased twice. Hamburger will join the Twins in spring training at the outset of the 2014 campaign.

Hamburger is also the fifth player to have his contract purchased by the Twins joining Esteban Beltre (1997), Thielbar (2011), Dan Sattler (2012), and Brad Boyer (2013).

Hamburger has an incredible story going from an open tryout with the Minnesota Twins to the Major Leagues in the matter of just four years. After a dominating year in college, going11-0 with a 0.83 ERA in 2007 at Mesabi Range Community & Technical College, he showed up at the Twins tryout camp and wowed scouts. He was signed to a minor league deal and sent to the Gulf Coast League.

In 2008 Hamburger was a Post-Season Appalachian League All-Star and went 1-2 with a 4.27 ERA and 13 saves with Elizabethton. In August of that season he was traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Eddie Guardado. He was sent to Single-A Clinton and between the two stops he went 1-2 with a 3.98 ERA and 16 saves.

In 2010 he was an MiLB Organizational All-Star after an incredible season between Single-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco where he went 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 21 saves in 50 relief appearances. In 65.1 innings pitched he struck out 69 while opponents hit .236 against him.

His big moment came in 2011. After going 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA and four saves in 11 relief appearances at Frisco, Hamburger was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock. He once again made the organization take notice going 7-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 31 games (four starts). On August 30 he was called up to the Major Leagues and made his debut on August 31 in Arlington against the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched a perfect ninth inning of relief getting two ground outs and a fly out. Despite giving up three runs in 2.0 innings in his next outing at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox, he did strike out Adrian Gonzalez twice. Overall, Hamburger was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in five games. In 8.0 innings he struck out six while Major League hitters batted just .179 against him.

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