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  • Correa Makes Strong First Impression in His Twins Spring Debut


    Theo Tollefson

    Carlos Correa made his Twins spring training debut on Sunday afternoon as the Twins hosted the Red Sox for their fourth matchup in the Grapefruit League schedule.

    Image courtesy of Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

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    On the first play of the game, Carlos Correa got a chance to show his defensive skill to the Fort Myers crowd. Fellow Puerto Rican Enrique Hernandez was at the plate, leading off for the Red Sox. Joe Ryan was on the mound and coaxed a hard ground ball up the middle. Correa rushed to his left and sprawled out with a dive. He fielded the ball, jumped to his feet, and made a strong, accurate throw to record the game's first out.  

    Following his defensive gem in the top half of the first, Correa had his first at-bat in the bottom half of the inning. He lined a single over the third baseman and into left field. Max Kepler followed with a pop fly to the left fielder Alex Verdugo to end the inning. 

    Joe Ryan pitched well in his second spring training start. His first time through the Red Sox lineup, Ryan only walked Verdugo and struck out four Red Sox hitters. Ryan finished out his afternoon by striking out Hernandez. His day was done after three scoreless innings. He gave up no hits, walked one and struck out five batters. 

    After an exciting first inning for Correa, he didn't see any more balls hit his way at shortstop. In his second at-bat, Correa led off the bottom of the fourth and grounded out to Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers who threw him out. That ended his day as Daniel Robertson replaced him at shortstop. 

    With two down in the fourth, Miguel Sano recorded his first hit of the game, smacking a line drive over Devers's head. He jumped and the ball hit off of his glove and landed safely. Red Sox reliever Jake Diekman struggled to find the strike zone in the two plate appearances that followed Sano's. He walked both Alex Kirilloff and Gary Sanchez.

    With the bases now loaded, Gio Urshela's walked to score Sano from third. Diekman exited the game. The inning concluded with a strikeout of Ryan Jeffers, but they had a 1-0 lead. 

    In the bottom half of the fifth frame, Correa joined the Bally Sports North broadcast from the dugout to talk with Richard Bremer and Justin Morneau about his time at Twins training camp so far. 

    "I've got to be honest; it felt like a little kid out there once again. Whenever I get to play baseball, it's always fun, with a new team especially. This group of guys, getting to know them every single day during practice, and getting to share the field with them in a game is pretty special. I'm very happy," said Correa about wearing a Twins uniform for a game for the first time. 

    Morneau later asked a question to Correa about his diving play to start the game, asking if there were any way he wouldn't lay out for the ball because it was spring training. 

    "100 percent, you have to practice them. I'm not letting my boy from Puerto Rico, Kike, get that hit, so I had to dive for it," said Correa. 

    Morneau later asked Correa what he had been doing to prepare with less time at camp for his on-field performance in Sunday's game. 

    Correa responded by saying, "A lot of live at-bats. I like to get the rustiness out of the way in the back fields, not in a televised game. I will say the first day, I had like eight at-bats, probably eight strikeouts, and was seeing the fastballs 120 miles per hour, then got some work with the machine, and the eyes got adjusted. So I feel a lot better at the plate right now."   

    The Red Sox got their offense in the top half of the sixth inning. With runners on second and third and Devers at the plate, he launched a ball deep enough for a two-run sacrifice fly. Scoring from second was pinch-runner Jarren Duran.

    The Twins were still down 2-1 going into the bottom half of the eighth inning. They had two runners on base with one out and new Twins catcher Jose Godoy at the plate. Godoy singled to former Twins outfielder Rob Refsnyder in left field, scoring a run and tying the game 2-2. 

    Another run scored after that thanks to a bases-loaded ground out from Jose Miranda. After Miranda's groundout, Trevor Larnach came to the plate for the second time Sunday afternoon and launched a fastball over the right-center field fence to make it a 6-2 Twins lead. 

    The Twins had Jorge Alcala in for his spring training debut for the ninth. He gave up a home run to the leadoff man, Refsnyder, but he closed out the game to give the Twins a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox. 

    The Twins are off tomorrow (Monday) and then will have eight consecutive games from Tuesday until April 5 to close out their spring training schedule. Bailey Ober is scheduled to start the Twins' next game on Tuesday against Tampa Bay at 1:05 ET, 12:05 CT.

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    Nice write up Theo! Thank you! 

    Correa is a bright spot right now. I love his attitude about going to war and laying out for grounders in spring training. It's those types of traits you can't get enough of and what makes a championship team vs. just a contender. 

    I think this might be a special season. Leadership like that provides a 10+WAR... I'm now old enough to understand how important chemistry is to team wins. 

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    2 hours ago, twinssporto said:

    Nice write up Theo! Thank you! 

    Correa is a bright spot right now. I love his attitude about going to war and laying out for grounders in spring training. It's those types of traits you can't get enough of and what makes a championship team vs. just a contender. 

    I think this might be a special season. Leadership like that provides a 10+WAR... I'm now old enough to understand how important chemistry is to team wins. 

    Gonna need about 3 or 4 other pitchers for this season to even potentially be special. 2 for the rotation and at two for the bull pen. 

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