Reusse: Every day and every inning, Revere makes presence felt

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 6, 2011 - 11:09 PM

Injuries created opportunity for the outfielder, who's been a stabilizing force ever since his call-up in early June.

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Ben Revere has played in every inning in 31 consecutive games.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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Ben Revere had been back with the Rochester Red Wings for nine games. He had two hits in five of those games, including a 10-9 victory on June 1.

Earlier in the day, Naomi Silver, the president of the Red Wings, was asked about Revere and said: "He's great in the field, exciting on the bases and very personable. Our fans are really enjoying Ben.''

A few hours later, Revere came into the home clubhouse after the Red Wings' eventful victory and was waved into manager Tom Nieto's office. Jason Kubel and Jim Thome were headed to the disabled list and Revere was going back to Minnesota, where he had spent 2 1/2 weeks in May as Jason Repko served a stretch on the DL.

"I hope I can stay longer this time,'' Revere said that night in Rochester.

The opportunity to do so kept improving. He was replacing Repko, the Twins' fifth outfielder, in May.

And this time?

Kubel's at-bats were up for grabs. Center fielder Denard Span played only one game after a home plate collision in Kansas City on June 3. Justin Morneau left the lineup on June 10, creating a need for Michael Cuddyer to return to first base on a semi-regular basis. Delmon Young crashed into the Miller Park wall on June 25 and returned to the DL.

This time, Revere was looking at playing time that belonged to the Nos. 1 through 4 outfielders: Kubel, Span, Young and Cuddyer (when he was at first).

What that opportunity has added up to is this: The Twins have played 31 games since Revere rejoined them in Kansas City on June 2 and he hasn't missed an inning.

He started in right field on June 2 and 3, center field on June 4 and 5 and left field on June 6. That was Span's last game. Revere has been in center field for 26 consecutive games.

"You wanted a chance,'' a reporter said to Revere. "And you haven't missed an inning in 31 games.''

Revere nodded and said: "I love to play every day. I want to be out there. The Twins are my organization. I want to make a difference for them.''

On Tuesday, Revere found out that he shared the Rookie of the Month award for June in the American League with Oakland's Jemile Weeks. Revere went 30-for-102 (.294), scored 14 runs and had seven stolen bases.

Most important was this: The Twins were at a season-low 17-37 when Revere arrived in Kansas City. Since then, they have gone 21-10 -- with strong pitching, with much production from Cuddyer, but also with Revere's speed at the top of the order and in covering the gaps in center field.

Revere mentioned a conversation with his grandfather -- John Revere, in Dayton, Ohio -- when they talked after Ben was called up last month.

"He told me, 'Keep playing hard and you will make something positive happen,''' Revere said. "He said, 'Go up there and help the Twins go on a run.'''

The Twins went into Wednesday's game vs. Tampa Bay with a chance to sweep an AL East team in a series for the first time since 2007. They came back twice to get to a 5-5 tie, then relievers Alex Burnett and Phil Dumatrait were routed in a 12-5 loss.

Revere went 1-for-5 with a ninth-inning single. He's now at .269. The on-base percentage of .308 is inadequate, with eight walks and one hit-by-pitch in 160 plate appearances.

"The coaches keep telling me to take more pitches, work the count,'' Revere said. "I'm working at it, but everyone knows ... I like to swing the bat.''

Revere has been seeing more breaking pitches and more pitchers trying to "get in on me.'' The defensive shift has become more dramatic toward the left field line and shallow, to take away the flares in which he seems to specialize.

"The big leagues are tough,'' Revere said. "But the more pitchers learn about me, the more I can learn about them. This is what I've wanted since I was a kid: to play every day in the big leagues.''

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. preusse@startribune.com

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