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When the Twins signed Ryan Doumit to a 1-year, $3 million contract last November, it didn’t set off a social media firestorm, no press conference was called and Ron Gardenhire didn’t shuttle Doumit from the airport to Target Field with a news helicopter hovering overhead. Although the 31-year-old isn’t a game changer, he is a solid, versatile player that every good team needs and every manager loves.
Drafted in the 2nd round by Pittsburgh in 1999, Doumit debuted with the Pirates in 2005 and spent seven seasons there mainly as a part time player, averaging 87 games per year. A .271/.334/.442 career hitter, Doumit played first base and rightfield for the Pirates in addition to his main duties as a catcher.
The Twins of course, were looking for an insurance option for Joe Mauer who could handle the bat compently. The fact that the affordable Doumit could do that and play rightfield, another position in a state of flux, made him an ideal fit. Doumit and I talked about free agency, his transition to the Twins and playing multiple positions during last week’s homestand
DZ: You’ve been with the Twins about 2 ½ months now - a new city, a new team, a new league - how is everything going for you?
DOUMIT: I am really enjoying it. It’s a smooth transition, a great group of guys here, a great city. It’s been everything I hoped for.
DZ: You come in here as a catcher, how long does it take you to get comfortable with the pitching staff?
DOUMIT: It’s a little bit of a process just to kind of get on the same page as everybody and kind of earn each other’s trust. These guys have been here for a while, so I think that’s what spring training is for - mostly to come in an catch these guys as often as you can…I think we are all on the same page now.
DZ: You came to the Twins on a one year contract - I believe it was the first time you were a free agent - what was your approach coming into the free agent process?
DOUMIT: I was just going to weigh my options, see what offers I had, what situations were the best fit for me and I had it narrowed down to about three teams - the Twins obviously one of them. The Twins reputation of just being a classy, first rate organization and doing things the right way and getting a chance to play against them every year in spring training, it just kind of rubbed off onto to me that this was the type of organization I want to be a part of.
DZ: You seem to fit in really well, would you like to end up here long term?
DOUMIT: Absolutely. This is a place I could see myself settling down in. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year, but this is definitely a great place.
DZ: You had a guy here you played with in Pittsburgh - Matt Capps. How much did you talk to him before you came over here?
DOUMIT: Actually, he called me right after he saw that I signed and just told me how much I am going to love it here and how great this place is, how great an organization it is. To get that kind of reassurance from Capps - who is a pretty stand-up guy, just kind of solidified the fact that I made the right choice.
DZ: You play catcher and you also play some outfield, there aren’t too many guys who do that, what is that like? The positions are so different.
DOUMIT: It’s a little bit of an adjustment, you have to stay on top of it, you have to keep going out there and getting reps. On days I am not catching, (I) go out there and shag (balls) in the outfield during batting practice. You have to stay sharp, it’s a little bit of an adjustment.
See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:
June 16: Brian Duensing
June 2: Brian Dozier
May 26: Josh Willingham
May 17: Denard Span
May 1: Jared Burton
April 28: Alex Burnett
April 21: Chris Parmelee
April 17: Sean Burroughs
April 13: Jeff Gray