Carroll breaks one heck of a drought

The last time Jamey Carroll homered, he was wearing a
Cleveland Indians uniform — in 2009. Since then, he played two homerless
seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was without a home run through 120
games (411 at-bats) with the Minnesota Twins this season.

On Monday, Carroll’s homerless drought ended.

On a 2-2 count from White Sox starter Hector Santiago, Carroll connected on a
95 mph pitch and homered into the Chicago bullpen in left-center field. It was
his first home run since Aug. 9, 2009 — a span of 1,348 at-bats.

“First and foremost, I’m excited to go out there and see my son,”
Carroll said after Minnesota’s 4-2 loss on the road, which his family was able
to attend. “He’s been known to let people know, even though he’s only
four, that I don’t have enough energy or I’m not strong enough to hit homers. .
. . You just try to help the team win. It’s exciting. We all had fun with it in
here. But at the same time, we like to go home with the ‘W,’ of course.”

The 1,348 at-bats between home runs was the longest active homerless streak in
all of baseball. Now that Carroll has snapped his homerless drought, the
longest in baseball is Kansas City’s Chris Getz with 918 at-bats; he hasn’t
cleared the fence since July 7, 2009. Minnesota outfielder Ben Revere is second
on the homerless list — he has yet to homer since making his major league debut
on Sep. 7, 2010, a stretch of 884 at-bats after Monday’s game.

Carroll’s solo homer Monday also came in the same ballpark in which he hit his
last home run back in 2009. In that game with Cleveland, Carroll went deep off
Scott Linebrink in the top of the seventh inning for a solo shot. And it was in
Chicago that Carroll made his MLB debut back on Sept. 11, 2002 with the
Montreal Expos against the Cubs.

“It’s a proud moment in my family,” Carroll said. “It’s fun that
my brothers and my dad got to be here, and my wife and my kids. And it happened
in Chicago, where my first game was. It was a special day.”

Carroll’s homer Monday landed in the White Sox bullpen, and Twins left fielder
Darin Mastroianni ran over to the bullpen to retrieve the milestone baseball at
the end of the fifth inning. Carroll was also greeted by plenty of high-fives
and smiles in the Minnesota dugout.

While the homer came in a Twins loss, it still capped a special night for
Carroll. His 13th career homer Monday came on the same day in which he reached
10 years of major league service time.

“Ten years in the big leagues is special,” Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said of Carroll. “He’s a game-on type player. He plays hard all
the time, so it was really fun in the dugout when he hit that homer.”

Of the 13 homers Carroll has hit in his 10-year career, only two have come with
runners on base. He has hit one grand slam in his career, back in 2007 with
Colorado against the Chicago Cubs.

Entering Monday’s game, Carroll was batting .255 with a .336 on-base percentage
and a slugging percentage of .297. The 38-year-old Carroll signed a two-year
contract with the Twins this past winter. Minnesota is the sixth team of his
career — he spent three years with the Montreal Expos, one with the Washington
Nationals, two with Colorado, two with the Indians and the two with Los Angeles
Dodgers before joining the Twins this year.

After Carroll’s homer Monday, the Twins couldn’t muster much else on offense.
Minnesota scored one more run in the eighth inning but couldn’t overcome an
early deficit.

Still, it was a day to remember for Carroll.

“It’s not fun to lose, and I’m sure I’ll go home with the loss,”
Carroll said. “But in time, I’ll be able to look back and understand and
appreciate what this day is all about.”