Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/langfellow/mnscore.com/blog/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 82
When the Twins decided to permanently move Joe Mauer to first base last November, they closed the book on the most successful catching career in team history. The organization had gotten a look at 25-year-old receiver Josmil Pinto in September and liked what they saw, but were reluctant to place one of sport’s most important positions completely in his hands. A capable veteran was need as an insurance policy and mentor.
30-year-old Kurt Suzuki meanwhile, was coming off another solid big league season. The 7-year veteran split the 2013 campaign with Washington and Oakland and was a free agent (interestingly, Suzuki had been dealt from Oakland to Washington in August 2012 and traded back to Oakland by Washington almost exactly a year later).
After exploring their options, the Twins decided the reliable Suzuki was the perfect bridge between Mauer and Pinto and inked him to a 2-year contract just before Christmas. The Hawaii native and discussed his first month in Minny with me late last week.
DZ: It’s been about a month now…what’ the adjustment like coming to a new team?
SUZUKI: It’s actually been pretty simple. We’ve got a bunch of great guys and they make you feel welcome. It’s been fun.
DZ: Is it more involved when you joint a new team as a catcher because you…have to get in sync with the pitching staff?
SUZUKI: You definitely have to learn a little bit more about the guys. You have to learn quicker. You have the pitching staff like you said, so it’s a little tougher, but you know it’s fun - the fun part.
DZ: The starting staff has a few new guys…that have just come in like you have. What’s that all like, they don’t have much history here either? Does that make it more challenging?
SUZUKI: Not really. You are still the new guy, so you still have to learn. It’s just as challenging and it takes some time to get it, but we’ll get it.
DZ: It’s kind of a unique situation with Joe Mauer - he was the catcher before (you were here) - what’s your relationship with him like?
SUZUKI: It’s been great. I’ve got a lot of respect for Joe and what he’s done as a catcher. It’s been neat just having him around and being able to talk to him a lot about different things.
DZ: How about the young guy, (Josmil) Pinto? What are your impressions of him?
SUZUKI: He works really hard and he’s really strong and exciting. He can really swing the bat…he’s really improving every single day. That’s a testament to him and how hard he works.
DZ: Obviously you were a free agent this offseason, can you take us through the process of how you got here?
SUZUKI: You try to see what teams are interested, who is interested and you try to see what is the best fit for you and your family. That’s kind of how you look at the process. It’s not always fun, it’s not always exciting, but it’s about what’s best for you and your family.
DZ: A lot of baseball fans are interested in Stephen Strasburg…You had a chance to catch him (in Washington), what was that like, what were your impressions of him?
SUZUKI: It think he’s as good as advertised. He’s got all the things, all the stuff and he goes out there and competes. He’s definitely a treat to catch.
See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players: