Q&A with New Twins Outfielder Jason Repko

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If you don’t know much about Jason Repko, nobody can blame you.  The outfielder appeared in 234 games for the Dodgers from 2005-09 (just 32 in the past two years) before being released on March 31 as spring training came to a close.  The Twins signed him a week later and he was assigned to Triple A Rochester.

In 60 games for the Red Wings, Repko performed solidly, hitting .281/.368/.412 with 10 steals. When the Twins needed an extra outfielder last month - particularly a back-up for centerfielder Denard Span - it was Repko who got the call.

I got a chance to get to know the 29-year-old former 1st round pick last week after batting practice at Target Field.

DZ: You’ve been with the team for about a week now, what are your impressions so far?

REPKO: It’s been amazing. When I signed over with this team, I could tell it was a great organization - going to Rochester, meeting with the staff and Jim Rantz and Bill Smith - all the guys were great. Obviously, getting the call and being here a week, I can just see these guys are great characters - the city is amazing, the stadium is amazing, the fans are amazing - it’s just been a great first week honestly.

DZ: How much did you know about the Twins coming in?

REPKO: I’d been with the Dodgers my whole career, hadn’t known too much about them. Back in spring training I kind of saw the writing on the wall with the Dodgers and figured I’d probably be on my way out the door by the end of spring. Had a chance to ask some guys around and Michael Restovich happened to be at our spring training and I gave him a call as soon as I found out the Twins were interested and he had nothing but good things to say about the organization. I was really excited about it.

DZ: The Twins have a reputation of going down to Triple A when they need help on the roster, did that attract you to the team too?

REPKO: Without a doubt. I talked to Bill Smith and he basically told me they needed an outfielder at Triple A who can play centerfield - at the time they needed someone - and if I was doing my job and performing, I would have equal opportunity. I had to take my chances there.

DZ: Did you know any of the players? I know you were with the Dodgers for a little bit last year, did you get to know Orlando Hudson and Jim Thome there?

REPKO: I got called up last September and I knew O-Dawg and I knew Thome a little bit. So that was kind of nice coming up here and seeing a couple of familiar faces.

DZ: When you come to a new team like this - like you said you were with the Dodgers in spring training - (the coaching staff) didn’t see you. Is it hard not to put too much pressure on yourself to impress them when you are guy coming off the bench and are not going to play everyday?

REPKO: It’s a roll I had been used to before - coming off the bench - but definitely when you are with a new team and are getting to know the new coaches and stuff, it’s hard not to put a little bit of pressure on yourself because you do want to prove that you can help out in some way. My first game out there I was a little nervous, a little anxious to get out there. But after this first week I feel a lot more comfortable. I am just prepared to help out whenever they need me.

DZ: You got your first hit as a Twin the other night, did that help you relax a little bit?

REPKO: Yeah, even when I got done with my first at-bat, I felt better. I struck out my first at-bat, but even when I got I the box - the anxiety was out, everything felt a lot better.

ME: You made a nice throw right away in New York too, that had to help.

REPKO: Definitely. Like I said I just want to help the team win, if it’s defensively, offensively, running the bases, whatever it may be - I just want to help this team.

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

July 5: Nick Punto
June 12: Jason Kubel
June 9: Drew Butera
May 11: Denard Span
April 25: Justin Morneau
April 22: Alex Burnett
April 21: Mike Redmond
April 16: J.J. Hardy

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