MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins love Ryan Doumit’s versatility. That’s why the team signed him to a two-year contract extension earlier this season — he can play multiple positions while also providing some pop offensively.
Prior to joining the Twins as a free agent this offseason, Doumit had spent time at first base, right field and designated hitter along with his normal position, catcher. For a handful of games this year, Minnesota has put Doumit in left field, a position he didn’t play until this season.
Doumit was in left field Wednesday against Kansas City and experienced his roughest night in the field as he committed three errors in the eighth inning of the Twins’ 10-5 loss to the Royals.
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“I’m going to have days like this,” Doumit said after the game. “It’s part of the learning curve.”
The first error occurred on a fly ball by Johnny Giavotella. As Doumit ran to make the catch in the left-center field gap, he took his eyes off the ball and couldn’t come up with the catch. Giavotella reached first base safely, while Eric Hosmer advanced to second base on the error.
Two batters later, Doumit committed two errors in one play. Alcides Escobar singled to left field and Doumit charged in to play the ball. But he bobbled the grounder and then sent an errant throw into the infield. Hosmer scored on the error and Giavotella advanced to third.
“The base hit, he rushed it. Then you put on top of it you try to rush your throw, too, the ball goes flying,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “A tough inning for him, but he’s actually been playing pretty good out there.”
Doumit’s three errors in one inning tied a major league record for most errors in an inning by an outfielder, according to Baseball Almanac. It had previously been done seven times, most recently on Sept. 9, 1989 by Scott Lusader of Detroit. Lusader committed three errors as the Tiger’s right fielder in the first inning of a game against the White Sox.
Additionally, Doumit’s forgettable eighth inning marked the first time a Twins player committed three errors in the same inning since Danny Thompson did so on Sept. 3, 1973 against Kansas City, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Thompson’s trio of errors came at shortstop. The last Twins player to have a three-error game was Pedro Munoz on July 21, 1995 against Boston.
Despite Wednesday’s rough night, the Twins still like what Doumit brings to the table as a versatile fielder. He has now played in 15 games in left field this season while appearing in just six in right field. In his 14 previous games in left field, Doumit did not commit an error in 32 chances. Prior to Wednesday, his only two errors of the season came at catcher, where he’s played in 53 games this year.
“You’ve got a catcher by (trade) playing other positions,” Gardenhire said. “He’s handled himself pretty good. Tonight was a little bit rough out there, the one inning, but we’ll keep running him out there. He gives us everything he has.”
Doumit has had a big year offensively, as his 16 home runs are a career high. He picked up his 67th RBI of the year with a bases-loaded walk in the third inning. His career high for RBI is 69 back in 2008, a number he could easily surpass with 19 games remaining in the 2012 season.
So as Doumit continues to swing well from both sides of the plate, he’ll continue to learn a new position in left field. In doing so, he might have the occasional night like he did Wednesday.
“I feel extremely comfortable (in left field). Tonight was just one of those nights. I took my eye off the ball. When you take your eye off the ball, bad things happen,” Doumit said. “… It’s embarrassing, but I’m going to learn from this and go out and get ‘em tomorrow.”