Twins sign Doumit to two-year extension

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins on Friday signed catcher Ryan Doumit to a two-year contract extension. Doumit, who originally signed a one-year deal prior to this season, will make $3.5 million a year in 2013 and 2014.

Though the extension comes halfway into Doumit’s first season with the Twins, the eight-year veteran felt comfortable in Minnesota’s clubhouse from the beginning of spring training.

“I knew I wanted to (stay) essentially on Day 1,” Doumit said. “The last couple days it was brought to my attention they were interested in bringing me back, which was very flattering obviously. The feeling was mutual. I called my agent. I said, ‘Let’s get something done.’ I love being here. It’s a great situation for me. It’s a great clubhouse. There’s a great group of guys here. I’m excited to be here.”

In 59 games prior to Friday’s series opener against Kansas City, Doumit is batting .271 with seven homers, 32 RBI and 22 runs. His versatility was originally appealing to the Twins, as he can move all over the field to different positions.

“I’m happy for him. He’s a worker,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s kind of a blue-collar guy, gets in there and grinds it out. He can do some things, catch and play some outfield and put some nice swings on the ball. He’s big for our ballclub. He comes here to play every day. We like those kind of guys.”

While he’s primarily been used as a catcher and designated hitter, the 31-year-old Doumit has also spent time in right field and at first base for Minnesota this year.

“Whenever I can get in the lineup,” Doumit said. “The bottom line is this is where I wanted to be and I’m very excited to know this is where I’ll be for the next couple years.”

Doumit spent his first seven seasons in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates after they took him in the second round of the 1999 draft. He made his debut in 2005 and hit .271 with 67 homers and 265 RBI in seven seasons. During that time, though, Doumit never played for a Pirates team with a winning record.

The Twins are currently 30-44, which means Doumit is potentially on his way to his eighth losing season in eight years. But he’s confident Minnesota will turn things around while he’s in a Twins uniform.

“It’s a great clubhouse. There’s a great group of guys here,” Doumit said. “I’m excited to be here. There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to right this ship, and I’m glad to know I’ll be aboard when we do.”

Doumit is making $3 million in his current one-year deal, so the extension provides a slight boost in pay. Since there was mutual interest from both sides, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said he didn’t want to risk letting Doumit hitting the free agent market and possibly losing him.

“I’m tired of going out and looking for guys,” Ryan said. “When you’ve got a guy right underneath your nose, let’s see if we can keep him. Not all guys come here and fit. This guy did.”

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