MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We’re used to a Twins catcher playing in the All-Star Game, but there’s a new one this time around.
Kurt Suzuki is having a career year at the plate, but what makes him such an all-star?
“Obviously, in the locker room, his leadership, his smile…he electrifies the room,” said Twins pitcher Glen Perkins.
He says Suzuki’s success started in spring training.
“When I would throw an inning, even if he didn’t catch me, he would ask me after what I threw and why I threw it,” Perkins said.
That desire to learn about his new team not only made Suzuki play better, but helped the pitchers play better, too.
According to the catcher, his communication skills might stem from his personality.
“I’m a pretty easygoing guy,” Suzuki said, “I like to talk to everybody.”
But it was a conversation with one particular person in spring training, another former Twins All-Star, Tom Brunansky, that Suzuki credits with turning things around at the plate, where he’d struggled in recent years.
“We sat down for a lengthy conversation the first day, and we talked about a lot of things,” Suzuki said. “He looked at a lot of video of me, and it was just like, ‘Go back to who you are. We don’t want you to hit 30 homers.'”
Now, the Twins’ least-heralded free agent signing is their most-heralded position player.
“I was just trying to prove to myself that I could compete still against all these great players,” Suzuki said. “And to be able to be named to an All-Star team, now. Finally, aw, unbelievable.”
Suzuki credits Joe Mauer with helping him transition to a new team. So even the Twins catcher we’re used to seeing in the All-Star Game played a role with the one who will be in it Tuesday night.