INSIDE PITCH: Double-A star Kepler makes jump to Twins
MINNEAPOLIS - Max Kepler was overcome with emotion Monday night after his Chattanooga Lookouts had just won the Southern League championship. Then Kepler received some news that made him even more emotional. Shortly after the Lookouts' championsh...
MINNEAPOLIS - Max Kepler was overcome with emotion Monday night after his Chattanooga Lookouts had just won the Southern League championship.
Then Kepler received some news that made him even more emotional.
Shortly after the Lookouts' championship victory, Kepler found out from manager Doug Mientkiewicz that he was getting called up to the majors. Kepler, a German-born outfielder, joined the Twins on Tuesday for his first day as a big leaguer.
Though Kepler didn't play - and may not see much playing time in the final few weeks of the season - he was overwhelmed just to be in a big league clubhouse.
"I was speechless but at the same time I was about to cry," Kepler said before Tuesday's game. "I don't cry much but I almost teared up. I got to celebrate with my team last night, and it was amazing."
Kepler's promotion was well-deserved. The 22-year-old from Berlin was named the Southern League's Most Valuable Player after he batted .322 with nine home runs, 13 triples and 71 RBIs in 112 games with Double-A Chattanooga. On Wednesday, the team announced Kepler was named their minor league player of the year. It's his sixth season in the Twins organization after they signed him in 2009.
It was a quick turnaround for Kepler, who went from being a Double-A player on Monday to a big leaguer on Tuesday. It was an equally busy few days for Kepler's mother, who booked a last-minute flight from Berlin to Minneapolis to be there for her son's first big league game. Kepler's sister also made the trip from Florida, although his father was not able to travel due to work.
The Keplers didn't get to see the newest Twin in action, but it was a big day from the son of two former professional ballet dancers who spurned the sport of choice in soccer-crazed Germany to take the road less traveled in Europe.
"Baseball's on the come up in the Germany. It's growing," Kepler said. "I'm just doing my best to have it evolve over there. I've already heard that everybody in Berlin's happy for me when they woke up and saw the news. I'm trying to get transfer from soccer to play baseball overseas."
--1B Joe Mauer extended his on-base streak to 42 consecutive games with a double in the fourth inning. That mark matches the Twins' franchise record for the longest streak, tied with Bob Allison. Allison reached base safely in 42 games in 1961. Mauer's streak is the third longest in the majors this year.
--RHP Ricky Nolasco rejoined the Twins on Wednesday after rehabbing his ankle in Florida. Nolasco has not pitched since May 31 and made just seven starts for Minnesota this year. The Twins are hopeful that Nolasco can pitch again this year out of the bullpen.
--3B Trevor Plouffe had three hits in Wednesday's game for a season total of 135. That set a career high for hits in a season for Plouffe, who had 134 in 136 games last season. Plouffe had a pair of doubles Wednesday along with a run and an RBI.
--2B Brian Dozier homered to right field in Wednesday's win. It was the 75th career home run for Dozier, but the first of his career to right field. Dozier also set a single-season RBI mark with 72, topping last year's total by one.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I had a chance to witness one that probably isn't quite as common in a golf tournament in Cooperstown. When Yogi, facing about a 60-foot putt, hit it about 30 feet, he said, 'If I hit it harder, I would have missed it shorter.' I think hearing that live kind of affirmed a lot of the things I had read about him were pretty true." -- Twins manager Paul Molitor, when asked about his favorite quote by the late Yogi Berra, who passed away late Tuesday at the age of 90.