He helped the Dominican Republic win the World Baseball Classic. That, we were told, was intense pressure for Samuel Deduno.
Beating the New York Yankees, by comparison, should be child's play.
Deduno, who turns 30 today, is the starter tonight at Target Field as the Twins try to bounce back from a horrific 10-4 loss to the Yankees. In last night's loss, Robinson Cano clubbed two home runs and started an eighth-inning rally that put New York up for good.
Cano, Deduno's WBC teammate, is arguably the only mega-star in Yankees lineup right now. If Deduno can tame him, the Twins might have a chance for a rare victory over New York.
Also in Deduno's favor: He has yet to lose at Target Field this season. He's 3-0 at home, with a 1.71 ERA this year. In 10 career starts at Target Field, Deduno is 7-1 with a 2.59 ERA.
For the Yankees, Phil Hughes is on the mound. But don't let that 3-7 record fool you. In his last start, Hughes held the Rangers to two runs over eight innings.