MINNEAPOLIS — The list of highlight reel catches that Ben Revere made in 133 games at Target Field is a long one. For most fans, it might be tough to pick a favorite.
The former Twin has one in mind, though. He refers to it only as “the one I made in 2011.” He made several plays that year, but the one that Revere recalls fondest came back on Aug. 22, 2011 when he robbed Baltimore’s Vladimir Guerrero with an over-the-shoulder grab as he scaled the wall in center field.
“I made some crazy, crazy catches here,” Revere said Tuesday as he visited Target Field for the first time as an opposing player. This past offseason, Revere was traded from Minnesota to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for pitcher Vance Worley and prospect Trevor May.
Revere was back to his old stomping grounds, the site of many of his most remarkable catches. There were the head-first diving snags of low line drives, the sprints to the gap to take away extra-base hits. And of course, there were catches like the one he made in 2011 that still sticks with him two years later.
The move to the National League and to the Phillies has been an adjustment for the 25-year-old Revere. In 58 games leading up to Tuesday’s series opener, Revere is batting just .244 with 14 stolen bases and just six RBI. A year ago, he hit .294 for the Twins and stole 40 bases while driving in 32 runs in 124 games.
This year, Revere has had to adjust to his new surroundings and also a new role as the everyday center fielder. With Minnesota, Revere was often playing second fiddle in center to Denard Span.
“Right now, going to a new league, facing new pitchers, there’s a little bit of an adjustment to see what they’ve got,” Revere said. “It’s the type of deal you’ve got to keep fighting and keep your head up.”
The verdict is still out on which team got the best of the trade that sent Revere to the Phillies. Worley struggled in his first 10 starts with Minnesota, going 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA. That was enough to earn him a demotion to Triple-A Rochester to help get him back on track. May, meanwhile, has been with Double-A New Britain this year and is regarded as one of the Twins’ top pitching prospects. Through his first 12 starts, May is 5-2 with a 3.92 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.
While Revere had a good year in 2012, Minnesota needed pitching both at the major league and minor league levels. They also had a glut of outfielders in the system and were able to trade both Revere and Span (to the Nationals). This year, Aaron Hicks has taken the torch as the next center fielder.
Revere holds no ill will toward the Twins — the organization that took him 28th overall in the 2007 draft — and realizes that it’s all part of the business side of the game.
“With me, when the situation happened they traded Denard first. Everybody kind of felt I would be the center fielder and then they traded me,” Revere said. “People kind of had some confusion. I just tell everybody it’s a business. They just needed some guys they really had to get. I’m not mad at them. They gave me a chance to be a major league player. I just thank them every day for that.”
The Twins were thankful for Revere’s contributions, too, during his three years in the majors. He put together a lengthy highlight reel of defensive gems and developed into a serviceable hitter as well.
Now, Minnesota just hopes Revere doesn’t make any of those catches this week.
“I liked Benny,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “He was a nice kid; he comes to play and was fun in this clubhouse. You miss him an awful lot. Now we’ve got to figure out how to keep him off the bases and not let him create havoc on us the way he did against other teams when we had him. He’s got a big heart and he plays that way every inning, every out — and that’s what you like about the kid.”