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Contentious Fort Myers Sign

March 3, 2012 by staff 

Contentious Fort Myers Sign, Nine years after his contentious departure from the Twins, Eddie Guardado has returned to the team as a spring training instructor, giving pep talks and throwing batting practice.

“Of course,” he said with a laugh, “my last five years in the big leagues, I was pretty much throwing batting practice.”

Guardado, 41, became an All-Star with the Twins but fits the profile of a coach, in that he made the most of modest talent. In his prime, he survived with a fastball and slider that measured at average or below, but he knew where, when and how to throw them. More important, he threw them over the plate, even when that meant risking loud noise and statistical ruination.

“We are so happy to have him here,” Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said. “He can teach the mental side of the game as someone who got the most out of what he had. He was such a tough competitor.”

Guardado sees the same tenaciousness in his 6-year-old daughter. Ava Guardado has autism. Eddie Guardado is throwing everything he has at the disease.

He recently held a fundraiser in California’s Orange County — a bowling tournament that drew hundreds of people and raised $130,000. Torii Hunter, Michael Young, LaTroy Hawkins, Adrian Beltre and Vernon Wells were among the current and former big-leaguers who showed up to help the Eddie Guardado Foundation.

“We directly give the money to families who need help because they have a child with autism,” Guardado said. “It puts a smile on people’s faces. It’s time for us to give back.

“I get teary-eyed thinking about it. It’s the best feeling. You go into somebody’s home and say, ‘Here, we’re here to help you.’ You give hope to people. I tried to give that thought to people at the bowling alley. When you wake up in the morning, you have changed people’s lives.”

Eddie might have been one of the great overachievers in Twins history. He went from failed starter to lefthanded specialist to All-Star closer for a contender. He says the real fighter in the family is Ava.

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