Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Postgame: Colabello asked for OK to swing

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: May 22, 2013 - 6:46 PM

 Lots going on at Turner Field today. Here are a bunch of things that didn't make the paper:

-- Chris Colabello swung at the first big-league pitch he ever saw. But first, he asked permission.

"I asked Bruno [hitting coach Tom Brunansky] if it would be all right if I let it go," Colabello said after his first big-league game. Lefthander Paul Maholm "threw a pretty good pitch to hit, and I put a pretty good swing on it."

But he lined it directly at right fielder Jason Heyward, the first out in an 0-for-4 debut. "I didn't really get any fastballs to hit," he said afterward, "but that's part of the game."

Colabello also made a nice running catch of a shallow fly ball to end the fourth inning.

-- As the trucks were loaded equipment after the game, Colabello's bat bag was easy to pick out. Only one Twin has a bag that says, "Italia," from his two-week stint playing in the World Baseball Classic.

-- I felt bad for Vance Worley, who is a real positive presence in the Twins' quiet clubhouse, but who seemed absolutely mystified by his terrible start this year. His numbers weren't especially strong last year with the Phillies, either -- 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA -- but he obviously expected to be doing much better here, and he's only two years removed from an 11-3, 3.01 season.

"I went out there, and left the ball up just a bit. My ERA is killing me and it's hard to win a game if you get behind," he said. "This whole spring and up to this point, I haven't been consistent whatsoever."

He thought he had solved his problem last week, making a change to his mechanics that helped produce a six-inning, no-earned-runs performance against Boston. But now "I'll just have to figure it out down there," he said.

-- Both team's center fielders have had a rough year at the plate, but both homered on Wednesday. B.J. Upton hit a solo shot off Worley to lead off the fourth inning, producing just his seventh RBI of the season -- and considering he has four home runs, that means he's only batted in three teammates. Upton, who has a $75 million, five-year contract, is batting .155.

Aaron Hicks is at .157, and he had been slumping again; after his two-home run game against the White Sox on May 13, a game the Twins hoped would jump-start his bat, the rookie had gone 2-for-25.

But he too homered Wednesday, part of his first career three-hit game. Most encouraging of all: Hicks' homer came swinging left-handed, the first one (of his four on the season, second-most behind Josh Willingham's six) that he's hit from that side this year. Sure, it came off a pitcher making his major-league debut -- Cory Rasmus, brother of Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus -- but it's a great sign for Hicks. "He's been working really hard at it," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "For him to drive that ball like he did today, that was nice."

-- Caleb Thielbar walked the first two hitters he faced, then mowed down the next six Braves he faced. That's four innings in three days, and only one hit allowed, to the first hitter he faced in his debut.

"A little jumpy there early," Gardenhire said, "but he did well." The manager doesn't like having to use him this much, however. "Four innings in two days, that's not what we're looking for. We're looking for him to be used right, but with the way our starters are going, it's a hard thing to do," he said.

XXX

And a couple of leftovers from Tuesday night:

-- Gardenhire said as a bank of lights came back on slowly Tuesday night, after going out during a rain delay, the umpires came to him with a proposal. "The lights were not completely on, and they said, '[The Braves] are ready to go if you are,' " the manager said. "Well, we're hitting. Yeah, I guess they would be ready to go -- we're the ones have to hit in the shadows. I said, 'Nah, that ain't going to work.' " And the teams waited another 15 minutes until the light was completely restored.

-- Mike Pelfrey tried to convince Gardenhire to let him return to the game after the delays, but once it became clear it would be almost 90 minutes between pitches, he was told no. "He said, 'Well, you're going to have two pitchers on the mound,' " Gardenhire said. "I said, 'No I'm not. I'll tackle you.' "

XXX

That's it from Atlanta. Having failed to break the losing streak, I'm turning the team over to La Velle E. Neal III for the rest of the road trip. Follow the team at his blog, Twins Insider, and follow him on Twitter: @lavelleneal. (I'm @MillerStrib, if you haven't followed yet.)

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend, everyone.

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