Q&A with Twins Rookie Outfielder Rene Tosoni

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With Delmon Young already gone and Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel pending free agents, Twins fans may see a lot more of Rene Tosoni in 2012. Although his output in 2011 has hardly wowed us - .184/.262./.289 with 3 homeruns in 126 plate appearances - there is reason to believe Tosoni could be a contributing major league player.

A 36th round draft pick by the Twins in 2005, the Toronto native debuted in the organization in 2007. In 5 minor league seasons, Tosoni has hit .272/.361/.419, although the 25-year-old hadn’t played above the Double A until this season. He’s not likely seen by Twins as an everyday major league player, but Tosoni could be a solid 4th outfielder and provide some offense off the bench.

I sat down with the rookie in front of his locker at Target Field before during last week’s home stand.

DZ: It’s been a pretty eventful year for you, you’ve been up or down a few times, got your first major league experience; what’s all that been like?

TOSONI: It’s been pretty sweet. It’s overwhelming, the first call-up this year (was) due to injuries which is kind of how it is. I am happy to be here and happy to have the opportunity.

DZ: You’ve been up and down now (four) times, is it hard not knowing where you are going to be day by day?

TOSONI: Yeah, it is. Earlier it was seeing who is getting off the DL, wondering if it was going to be you who was going to get sent down or if it is going to be someone else. When you are down there, you just kinda play your game and hopefully do you well and just see what happens. We traded (Delmon) Young and that’s how I got another opportunity up here. It was unexpected because I wasn’t doing as well as I would like to be doing down in Triple A. They made a move and asked me to come back up. I was more than thrilled.

DZ: At any point have you woken in a hotel and wondered “Where am I?” for a second or two?

TOSONI: Not like that, but when I am in the outfield during the game (and) you see some guys walk up to the plate – the other day we had A-Rod and Jeter – and you are just like “Man, I am in the presence of some big league guys!” Playing with Morneau on the same team and Mauer is overwhelming. It’s great, you just have to pinch yourself and realize that you are actually here.

DZ: There have been a lot of guys from Rochester that have come up here and gotten chances. Does that make it easier to transition (to the big leagues), just knowing these guys and having played with them so much?

TOSONI: Definitely. Especially (since) the past two years I went to big league camp (in spring training). You get to meet guys and you learn how nice everybody really is. You don’t think from minor leagues to the big leagues that it is going to be much different. Everybody is who they are, everybody is great people, great company and they definitely make you feel comfortable.

DZ: Is there anybody who has been a mentor and kind of showed you around?

TOSONI: Yeah, Morneau has definitely taken me under his wing – a fellow Canadian. I’ve worked out with him the last two offseasons. I’ve hit with him and he’s kinda talked to me – I’ve struggled at points and done well at points – we talk to each other about everything. He’s been real great towards me.

DZ: It seems like Canadian players do have a little bit of a bond.

TOSONI: In this organization there is only three and only used to be two. We traded for (Scott) Diamond during spring training. We kinda stick together, we try.

DZ: What is the biggest difference between Triple A and the big leagues on the field?

TOSONI: Everybody says the game gets faster and they are not lying when they say that. When you going from every level from low A to high A, high A to Double A you noticed the game speed is faster – guys hit balls harder, guys track down balls better, guys in the middle infield make plays that you don’t really see when you are in the lower levels. Up here, it’s unbelievable how quick the game is.

DZ: How about off the field, what is the biggest difference?

TOSONI: Traveling. You get the charter flights and you have to dress nice to the field and stuff like that. I haven’t really experienced any huge fan base tracking me down or anything, but you need to be professional so you just kinda (pauses) – you don’t want to do anything stupid I guess (laughs). It’s nothing that different. I just kinda hang out in the hotel and come to the field and I am here all day.

DZ: The hotels a little better too?

TOSONI: Yeah, the atmosphere is definitely better.

See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:

August 30: Matt Capps
August 9: Jason Kubel
July 26: Luke Hughes
July 19: Glen Perkins
July 17: Ben Revere
July 3: Scott Baker
June 13: Rene Rivera
June 10: Nick Blackburn
June 2: Trevor Plouffe
May 31: Phil Dumatrait
May 28: Justin Morneau
May 24: Denard Span
May 1: Jim Hoey
April 28: Jason Kubel
April 19: Jeff Manship
April 15: Dusty Hughes

One Response to “Q&A with Twins Rookie Outfielder Rene Tosoni”

  1. MinnesotaSCORE » Denard Span On His Lost Season Says:

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    […] 3: Rene Tosoni August 30: Matt Capps August 9: Jason Kubel July 26: Luke Hughes July 19: Glen Perkins July 17: Ben […]

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