MINNEAPOLIS — Chris Colabello’s first stint in the majors was a brief one.
The Minnesota Twins optioned the 29-year-old Colabello to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Trevor Plouffe on the 25-man roster. Plouffe was reinstated Wednesday from the 7-day concussion disabled list. He suffered the injury in Atlanta when he slid into second base and was kneed in the back of the head by Braves second baseman Dan Uggla.
Colabello, who spent seven seasons in the Canadian-American League before joining the Twins organization last year, made his MLB debut on May 22. He recorded his first big league hit on Saturday in Detroit but was just 1-for-11 in his short time with Minnesota.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it was an easy decision to send Colabello back to Rochester, as it gives the Twins more versatility by keeping catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann on the roster.
“It’s hard for me just to keep pinch hitters around,” Gardenhire said. “I’ve got an extra first baseman. I’ve got outfielders. Just try to keep the guys with the most versatility right now more than anything else. We’re down to three guys on our bench and we have to have the pitching.”
Tuesday in Milwaukee, Colabello made a rookie mistake when he was wearing the wrong uniform. He came to the plate as a pinch hitter late in the game donning a blue jersey with “Twins” on the front. His teammates, however, were wearing jerseys that said “Minnesota” on them.
Despite the uniform gaffe, Colabello has shown this year that he can hit. In 46 games with Rochester before his call-up, he batted .358 with a team-high 12 homers and 39 RBI.
Plouffe was originally scheduled to bat sixth and play third base Wednesday but was a late scratch right before the first pitch with left calf tightness. He’s listed as day-to-day.
Herrmann behind the plate: The Twins called up catcher Chris Herrmann on Sunday from Triple-A Rochester when Wilkin Ramirez was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list. Herrmann got his first start Wednesday as he caught starting pitcher Samuel Deduno, whom he also caught in Rochester.
Herrmann made his debut last year with the Twins as a September call-up and was just 1-for-18 with a walk in seven games. He has just one plate appearance so far this year since his call-up and executed a sacrifice bunt.
Herrmann isn’t sure how long his second stint in the majors will last, but he’s trying to enjoy the ride while it lasts.
“It’s great. It was a surprise for me last Sunday,” Herrmann said before Wednesday’s game at Target Field. “This is what everybody’s working for, to get back up here and get a chance to play. I’m finally getting a chance to start tonight, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Since the Twins had two healthy catchers on the 25-man roster, Herrmann didn’t see his promotion coming. Red Wings manager Gene Glynn actually gave Herrmann the news during Rochester’s game (Herrmann had the day off). He hustled to the airport and was able to join the Twins in Milwaukee for a two-game series against the Brewers.
Herrmann’s his versatility — he can also play the outfield — made Minnesota decide to promote him with several other players banged up. He briefly played left field last season with the Twins and played a handful of games in the outfield for Rochester.
Wednesday, though, he was tasked with catching Deduno, whose breaking balls can make a catcher’s job tough.
“His ball moves all over the place,” Herrmann said. “It’s going to be a tough one. But I’ve just got to make sure I’m focused back there and call a good game and help him out as much as I can.”
Mauer gets new catcher’s mask: Twins catcher Joe Mauer has taken quite the beating behind the plate this season. Seemingly more than in recent memory, Mauer has been hit with a high number of foul tips from opposing batters.
“The other night I took one off the head and the shoulder,” Mauer said. “Neither one of them felt good. That’s just kind of how it is. I was able to finish the game and back in there the next day.”
While Mauer didn’t catch Wednesday after catching all 14 innings of Tuesday’s game in Milwaukee, he did get a new catcher’s mask that Gardenhire hopes will help protect his All-Star catcher.
“He got a new helmet today. Hopefully that’ll help him,” Gardenhire said. “He’s been asking for one, and they’ve been working on different models, so that’s probably going to help him out. Yes, he’s been taking a lot of foul tips, but he’s a big target and big targets get hit. I think all catchers get a lot of foul tips in this game. It’s a part of the job. He deals with it.”