Doumit has leather in locker, some pop in bat

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 10, 2012 - 8:59 AM

The former Pirates catcher was added for his hitting and mostly will serve as Twins DH.


Ryan Doumit will serve as Joe Mauer’s backup catcher, but he is expected to be the Twins’ primary designated hitter.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

FORT MYERS, FLA. - Ryan Doumit keeps four different models of gloves in his locker stall. One for when he plays catcher, one for outfield, one for first base and one for, well, not sure exactly. Perhaps an infielder's glove.

"All I need," he said, "is a shortstop glove and a closer's glove."

In reality, the Twins are counting on his bat more than his plethora of gloves, but it's nice to have options, particularly if a tidal wave of injuries and maladies sweeps through the locker room again this season.

As it stands now, Doumit's primary role will be as designated hitter. But he'll also serve as Joe Mauer's backup, plus an occasional game in the outfield and, in really desperate times, spot duty at first base.

"That's the great thing about it, I finally got that guy who is a multipositioned guy who also catches," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I've kind of been wanting that for a few years around here. It's good to have him here."

This was the kind of role Doumit sought -- especially the DH part -- after spending his 13-year professional career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, the past four as the team's Opening Day catcher.

"It was time for a change of scenery," he said.

He found it in a strangely familiar place. Doumit grew up in a small farming community in the middle of Washington state. His friend and high school classmate was former Twins first-round pick B.J. Garbe. Teammates in baseball and football -- Doumit played cornerback, Garbe was the star quarterback -- both were selected in the 1999 draft. Doumit went in the second round, No. 59 overall.

As "young pups" trying to establish their footing in professional baseball, Doumit lived with Garbe in Fort Myers during the offseason and trained with other Twins players at the team's complex, including Mauer, Michael Cuddyer and A.J. Pierzynski. Doumit had met Justin Morneau a few years earlier during a pre-draft workout for the Seattle Mariners.

"I had a pretty good feel for some of the guys here and how this organization is run," Doumit said.

Mostly, he welcomed a fresh start and a new role after getting pulverized physically in recent seasons as the Pirates catcher. He suffered multiple concussions, "blew out" his hamstring in 2006, broke his left thumb in '08 and his right wrist in '09 and fractured his left ankle in a home plate collision last season. He had enough of that gig, at least on an everyday basis, and found a landing spot with the Twins after the Pirates declined to pick up his option. 

"I was ready to get out of the National League just because with the opportunity to DH a little bit, it will give me a chance to stay healthier than I have been in the past," he said. "This is an opportunity to get out from behind the plate, play some more positions and just stay healthy. Make no mistake, I love to catch. But I'm also realistic enough to know that I'm playing on the same team with the best catcher in the game and if he's healthy, he's going to catch and I'm all for that. I'm also at the point where my body is telling me this is a good thing. Maybe if I can catch once or twice a week and play a couple more positions, that adds some longevity."

Doumit's versatility gives Gardenhire some position flexibility, but the Twins didn't sign him to a one-year, $3 million contract because of his defense. They needed to add some production to their offense and, when he's healthy, Doumit's hitting can mask his deficiencies in the field.

A switch hitter, Doumit has a career. 271 average with 67 home runs. His best season came in 2008, when he hit .318 with 15 homers and 69 RBI in 116 games.

"He's got some pop in his bat," Morneau said.

Doumit described his hitting style as "gap to gap." Sometimes, he said, those doubles carry into home runs. He probably won't make many highlight packages with his defense, but if he can be functional in the field and add some power to the lineup, that's a welcome tradeoff.

"My defense is something I'm never going to be completely satisfied with," he said. "I'm going to continue to push myself."

He paused.

"I know I can hit," he said. "I'm pretty confident in my hitting."

His offense should benefit from a chance to avoid the day-to-day grind of catching. He played catcher and went 1-for-2 Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He started in right field one day earlier and also has seen action in left field and designated hitter this spring.

"It's like summer ball in high school all over again," he said. "You didn't put too much thought into it. You just went out there and played. That's the approach I'm taking."

Chip Scoggins •

  • related content

  • Ryan Doumit likely will play a variety of positions for the Twins this season, but he was signed in the offseason primarily to add some punch to the lineup.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 7:30 PM
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 47 FINAL
Seattle 66
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
CS-Bakersfield 74
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question