When the Twins open up their nine-game road trip on Monday night in Atlanta, it will mark the first time this season that Minnesota’s pitchers will have to step into the batter’s box.
It just so happened that the three Twins starters pitching against the Braves — Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley — happen to have spent their entire careers in the National League prior to coming to Minnesota this season.
“It just worked out that way, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They know what they’re doing. They’ve handled it. They’ve been there. That’s all good and fine. They can handle the bats.”
Correia, who takes the hill in Monday’s series opener, spent 10 seasons with the Giants, Padres and Pirates before he signed with the Twins this winter. Pelfrey, Tuesday’s starter, pitched for the New York Mets for seven years. And Worley, who toes the rubber in Wednesday’s series finale, spent his first three seasons in Philadelphia prior to this year.
That means all three starters have taken their swings at the plate, with varying degrees of success. Gardenhire said recently that Correia may be the best of the three at the plate. In 276 career at-bats, Correia has 32 hits (.116 average) and has drawn 11 walks. Perhaps more importantly for a pitcher, Correia has successfully had 41 sacrifice bunts, which he may very well be asked to do Monday if he comes to the plate with runners on base.
Pelfrey has 264 career at-bats and has 26 hits (.098). On top of that, he’s drawn 13 walks, laid down 24 sacrifice bunts and has one sacrifice fly with 13 total RBI in his career — one more than Correia. Both Pelfrey and Correia have hit five doubles in their careers.
Worley has fewer at-bats as he spent just three seasons with the Phillies, but he was able to make contact when he did take his swings. In 85 at-bats, Worley has 13 hits (.153) and nine sacrifice hits. Of Worley’s 13 career hits, only two went for extra bases.
“It’s just National League baseball,” Gardenhire said. “I played in it. We’ve played in it now for quite a few years. It’s a different ball game over there. You’ve just got to pay attention to it. … A lot more technical stuff, bunting and all that stuff in that league, especially with the pitcher coming up there. You’ve just got to pay attention to the game.”
Colabello earns minor league honors: Twins minor leaguer outfielder Chris Colabello earned two honors after a strong week for Triple-A Rochester. Colabello was named the International League Batter of the Week and also earned the Batavia Downs Racetrack and Casino Player of the Week award as the Red Wings’ top player.
Over the last week, the 29-year-old Colabello had 15 hits while batting .586 with 10 RBI. For the season, Colabello is batting .361 with 11 home runs, 17 doubles and 34 RBI in 44 games with the Red Wings. He is in his second year in the Twins’ minor league system after spending seven seasons playing independent league ball.