Trade to Twins gives Presley shot a majors

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 1, 2013 - 11:53 PM

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– After beginning his normal pregame routine Saturday in Indianapolis, Alex Presley noticed his phone said he had missed a call. Then he noticed it was from Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington.

“I figured I needed to call him back,” Presley deadpanned a day later and a time zone away.

When he did, he learned that he was no longer a Pirate, and no longer at Class AAA for that matter, but one of two players the Twins had acquired for Justin Morneau. He caught a plane Sunday morning, took a cab to Rangers Ballpark and began getting used to his new life. And a new opportunity.

“I’ve been called up four times this year, but this one is a little different,” the 28-year-old Louisiana native said. “This is a chance to show a new team that I deserve to be at the big-league level.”

There’s no doubt about him at a level below; Presley has batted .309, with a .377 on-base percentage and a .460 slugging percentage over four Class AAA seasons. But in several stints with Pittsburgh, he was only a .261 hitter.

“Consistent at-bats are a big deal. In Triple-A, you play every day,” the former eighth-round draft pick said. “At the big-league level, that’s been on and off a little bit.”

No mystery about that. Presley’s natural position is center field, where the Pirates already have an All-Star in Andrew McCutchen.

“We’re excited. He actually ate up our Triple-A team in a series recently [going 7-for-14 against Rochester], and our guys duly noted that,” Gardenhire said of Presley. “We brought him over [because] we needed a leadoff guy. … He’s going to get a chance.”

He’s already got an identity — the guy the Twins got for Morneau. And how do they compare?

“I’m a speed player — get on base, bunt every now and then, try to steal. Run around the outfield and run some stuff down,” Presley said. “The opposite of Morneau. He’s a power guy; I can’t really compare.”

So he’s no Morneau. And you know who else he isn’t?

“I had [No.] 7 in Pittsburgh,” said Presley, wearing Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s No. 1 on his back. “I know I’m not getting that here.”

What of Welker?

Presley offered this scouting report on Duke Welker, his spring-training roommate who is reportedly the second player headed to the Twins: “He’s a big righthander, throws hard. A good slider, and likes to use a lot. He’s a two-pitch guy. He runs it up there 96, 97 [mph].”

However, Twins General Manager Terry Ryan disputed reports in Pittsburgh that a decision on the second player has been made.

“I do not know who the player [to be named] is. So I don’t know how anybody else does,” Ryan said, adding that the teams agreed upon a list of potential players, with the Pirates having the right to choose one to send to the Twins.

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