It has taken a few years including efforts in three other major league organizations, serving a 50-game suspension and spending the 2013 season with St. Paul, but Mark Hamburger‘s career continues to look up after a two-inning scoreless stint that earned a save for his original major league organization, Minnesota, on Sunday.

The 28-year-old right-hander limited Baltimore to one hit in protecting a 2-1 lead, adding that outing to two clean innings against the University of Minnesota a few days earlier as he bids to join another former Saints pitcher, Caleb Thielbar, in the Twins’ bullpen.

Hamburger could have re-joined the Minnesota organization earlier in ’13, but he was enjoying his time with St. Paul.  “We had a month to go and the Twins asked if I wanted to sign and start to get my 50-game suspension underway,” Hamburger told recently. “I was having such a great time with the Saints that I just wanted to spend the rest of the season with them.  I just wanted to be playing baseball, because that’s what I loved to do.  That was a great year. I had no thoughts of getting signed back. It was more just getting my life signed back.”

St. Paul had converted him to a starter where he went 6-8, 3.26 in the American Association.


Three-year Winnipeg reliever Ian Thomas has had a whirlwind few hours with Atlanta, where he was a spring training star one year ago so much that he got into his first 16 major league games (1-2, 4.09) for the Braves.  He was one of nine pitchers who combined for a 10-inning no-hitter against Houston on Sunday, working the sixth inning of the 2-2 tie game.

The southpaw gave up three walks, however, before getting Jason Castro to fly out to end the inning, and Monday morning Thomas was part of the Braves’ first squad cut of camp.  He was optioned back to Triple-A Gwinnett, GA.

John Holdzkom, who went all the way from Amarillo to the parent Pittsburgh Pirates last season, seems to remain strong in an effort to stay in the National League this season.  He tossed his second scoreless inning of the young spring training season in a 1-0 win against Toronto Sunday, and has three strikeouts in the two outings.


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