As Mauer's recovery continues, Twins rely on Herrmann

The backup catcher is “playing very well” and has caught Gardenhire’s eye.

hide

Twins catcher Chris Herrmann is taking on a bigger role with Joe Mauer sidelined because of a concussion.

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was terse when first asked about Chris Herrmann’s play after a Friday victory over the Indians.

“I was mad at him because he didn’t get a bunt down,” Gardenhire said, looking serious. “I don’t know about you.”

But if you think Gardenhire is down on Herrmann, think again. On that particular night, Herrmann did just about everything else right. He doubled in his first two at-bats, driving in a run with the second. He threw out Michael Bourn when he tried to steal third in the sixth inning. He helped Samuel Deduno overcome early control problems to get through six innings.

Now that whole picture has been presented, here’s Gardenhire again.

“Herrmann had a great game,” the manager said. “The kid is playing very well. He’s swinging the bat really well for us. He made a really nice throw to get a very fast runner and he did a really nice job with Deduno, which is hard. There were a lot of balls in the dirt and he had to block a bunch. That’s not an easy task, and he did a nice job.”

With Joe Mauer out indefinitely while he deals with concussion-like symptoms, Gardenhire likely will split the catching duties between Herrmann, a sixth-round pick in 2009, and veteran Ryan Doumit. Aside from Doumit being able to switch hit and Herrmann being only a lefthanded hitter, they are about the same player. Both can catch and get by in the outfield — although Herrmann is a little more athletic.

But Gardenhire will get a chance to see a lot of Herrmann, who can increase his chances of opening the 2014 season with the Twins instead of again being called up from Rochester.

Herrmann, 25, is batting .230 with three homers and 15 RBI in 37 games with the Twins.

With Mauer out, Herrmann started the first five games of the recently completed road trip to Detroit and Cleveland, batting .286 with three RBI in those games. Four of his six hits last week were doubles.

He struck out as a pinch-hitter on Sunday, but just the fact that Gardenhire was willing to give him a shot meant a lot to Herrmann.

“I struck out, but I think he has faith in me and feels I can get the job done and that helps out a lot,” Herrmann said. “He can put me out in left field, right field, catcher. I think those things are important to him.’’

Herrmann has thrown out two base runners from the outfield, although he has been reminded about hitting the cutoff man instead of trying to throw every base runner out. And pitchers have approved of his work behind the plate.

“He tells me to not worry about [throwing] the curveball in the dirt,” Deduno said. “He’s going to block it. That makes me confident.”

Herrmann has a ways to go with the bat, but has showed some flashes of driving the ball. His grand slam in the 10th inning on July 23 against the Angels is one of the highlights of the season. More recently, he drove in the game-winner on Thursday in the Twins’ 7-6 victory over Detroit with a double off a curveball from lefthander Drew Smyly. He had missed a few curveballs but was all over that one.

He’s benefiting from the experience and making a good impression that could lead to a roster spot next season.

“Last year I got called up and really didn’t play that much,” Herrmann said. “This year I’m getting a lot more playing time and I’m kind of making a mark for myself. I feel like defensively and everything else is going good. I just need to be consistent with the bat. Once I figure that out, everything will be good.”

Gardenhire is in evaluation mode, trying to figure out just what he has in Herrmann, who has been poised in clutch situations.

“Exactly,” Gardenhire said. “And whether that is by design or he is still learning and doesn’t know any better. Those are the things you have to find out from a young player. Whether his veins are ice cold or he’s just not sure and is just going about his business.

“I like that part of it. He is just playing and enjoying it and doing a nice job behind the plate, or no matter where you put him. He’s doing good, his instincts are all right. He’s doing fine and we’re just letting him play.”

  • Twins vs. Royals

    7:10 p.m. Tuesday • Target Field • TV: FSN (Radio: 93.6 FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close