CHICAGO -- Chris Colabello laced a single to left field in the second inning, a hit that belies his reputation as an inside-out hitter.

    He says it's the real him. If that's the case, he could wind up being even more valuable than the Twins think.

    "I was a pure pull hitter at the start of last year. I think my first six home runs were all to left field," Colabello said after the Twins' 5-3 loss to the White Sox. "Then in late May, a light came on that I could wait a little longer and still hit it a long way to right."

    That's the Colabello that the Twins saw when he was called up last August, a guy who stood back from the plate and tried to direct everything toward right-center. It's an approach that helped him win the International League MVP last year, but he got in trouble when major league pitchers discovered he had no answer when they came in on his hands.

    Now? "I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with inside pitches," Colabello said, and that sharp single down the line, off one of baseball's best lefthanders in Chris Sale, was pretty good evidence. He also went the other way once more in the ninth inning, when he lined a double into the corner, a ball that may have cleared the fence if not for the steady wind coming in from right field.

    Colabello might not play every day, but if he's able to hit the ball to all fields, and hit even inside pitches hard, he could earn more at-bats as the designated hitter than expected.

    "He could have been in Korea, but we're glad to have him right here. He's had a hell of a spring," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He took a chance and it's paying off. He's in the big leagues."

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