TWINS: Newcomer Doumit could be part of Minnesota catching trio
ST. PAUL The Minnesota Twins have a new backup catcher for 2012. Whether they need a third largely will be up to manager Ron Gardenhire. Ryan Doumit will be the first choice to back up Joe Mauer next season, general manager Terry Ryan said Wednes...
The Minnesota Twins have a new backup catcher for 2012. Whether they need a third largely will be up to manager Ron Gardenhire.
Ryan Doumit will be the first choice to back up Joe Mauer next season, general manager Terry Ryan said Wednesday after the sides officially agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract.
When asked if that takes care of the team's needs behind the plate, Ryan said Doumit and Drew Butera "complement each other pretty well."
"Drew can catch and throw and handle a staff," he added. "Doumit can do that, too, but he's also an offensive catcher. Whether we'll keep three catchers (on the active roster), I don't know. That will be up to Gardy."
Gardenhire has been known to keep three catchers and for much of last season was forced to because of injuries to Mauer, who missed 80 games because of a variety of injuries.
But Ryan told reporters Wednesday that the Twins think of Doumit, 30, "primarily as a catcher," even though he can play the outfield and some first base, Ryan said he expected Doumit to play "a little of each."
"He has enough versatility, and enough of a bat, that we think he can play right field if needed, and he certainly can DH," the GM said. "First base would be the last position of priority."
Doumit has played 611 major league games, 413 as a catcher. He was limited by a sprained ankle to 77 games last season but hit .303 with 12 doubles, eight homers and 30 runs batted in.
"I looked at this as an opportunity to be versatile," Doumit said, "to catch a little bit, to DH a little bit and maybe play a little outfield, and to get some at-bats, and a chance to be part of a winning club."
Doumit has been on the disabled list at least once in each season since 2006.
He has played 58 games in right field and 32 at first base, acknowledging: "First base is probably the position I feel the least comfortable at because I don't feel I've gotten the reps that I probably could have gotten. I feel more comfortable in the outfield."
Former Twins closer Matt Capps was a teammate of Doumit's in Pittsburgh.
"He's a Michael Cuddyer-type," Capps said. "He's versatile and a great hitter, especially from the left side. It's a great pickup for them. You guys are going to love him."
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