First-round draft choice arrives in Elizabethton  

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

  For Glen Perkins, playing in the Minnesota Twins organization is a dream come true.
  The last of Minnesota's first-round picks to sign landed in Elizabethton on Thursday. He will begin working out today and may pitch sometime in the next couple of days.
  "I'm excited to get going," said Perkins. "Living in Minnesota, I'm a Twins fan. I've loved them my whole life. I had the month off after the draft and I'm happy to be down here. It's a little bit different than Minnesota."
  The left-handed pitcher from Lakeland, Minnesota finished a stellar sophomore season at the University of Minnesota, where he was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year.
  He took a month off before signing his first professional contract, but he has begun working out to get back in shape.
  "We hold baseball camps and I did that a little bit," he said. "I took a couple of weeks off and I played catch and have been getting back in shape. I'm getting back to game form now."
  Perkins was selected 22nd in the Major League draft as compensation for the Seattle Mariners' signing of then free agent Eddie Guardado.
  The highly-picked player has high expectations in the Appalachian League.
  He had a 9-3 record with a 2.83 ERA in 16 games with 21 walks and 113 strikeouts for the Golden Gophers last season, earning second-team Collegiate Baseball News All-American honors.
  "That's what got me up in the first round where I was picked," Perkins said of his career at Minnesota. "Being left-handed and throwing three pitches for strikes, I plan on continuing that and building on what I've done so far."
  Perkins was 15th in the nation in wins in 2003, earning first team All-Big Ten, first team Freshman All-America by Baseball America and second-team All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball News during his initial collegiate campaign.
  He was the third player in his school's history to win Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year honors after setting the school record in strikeouts with 117.
  "If I do half as good as I did at the U, it all won't be too bad. I broke the school's record in strikeouts both years that I pitched, so it's definitely exciting," he said. "Hopefully, I can continue that and I look to improve upon what I did in college."
  Like many of the other players on the Elizabethton squad, Perkins hopes to do good enough to move on up by the end of the season.
  "I want to try to get to Quad Cities Swing and have an opportunity to get to Fort Myers next year," he said. "I hope to work my way up as fast as I can, and I hope to help the Twins out."