FORT MYERS, Fla. – Twins pitchers and catchers reported to training camp Tuesday, initiating a five-day head start on their teammates that, in an age in which most pitchers throw regularly throughout the offseason, largely feels to Ryan Jeffers more like a nod to tradition than to necessity.

"You don't see pitchers walk in here where you think, 'He needs extra time to get in shape.' I think we come a week early a little bit because it's just how it's always been done," Jeffers said on the eve of the team's first workout. "But I don't think any catcher minds being early and having that quiet clubhouse to [him]self before the rest of the team gets here."

Besides, Jeffers would have arrived in November if he could have, the closer his proximity to a breakout 2023, the better. Jeffers enjoyed the best season of his young career, posting an .858 OPS that ranked third-best in baseball among regular catchers and a .369 on-base percentage that trailed only Edouard Julien on the Twins. Jeffers comes to camp the clear No. 1 in the Twins' two-man catching platoon with Christian Vázquez.

His defense steadily improved, and he threw out 25% of all potential base-stealers, too.

"I worked really hard to have the year I had last year, but I've still got to turn around and do it again. I don't have any doubts that I will be able to," Jeffers said. "It didn't feel like a fluke. It felt like I finally laid the groundwork of who I am as a ballplayer. It felt like it was an extremely repeatable type of season."

So was the Twins' Central Division championship, he maintains, though three of their top six most used pitchers, totaling more than 357 innings, are no longer on the roster. And that's why he's glad to be getting down to work five days early.

"The biggest thing isn't the physical part, it's mental. We've got to get started on that, especially with the new pitchers," Jeffers said. "We've got to learn who these pitchers are — what they throw, how they work. Most of my time will be figuring out what they do."

He's already begun that process, poring over statistical profiles of each of the Twins' pitchers. Velocity, arm angle, shape and depth of their breaking ball, all of it has been provided for him. Jeffers talks through the strengths and weaknesses of pitchers with catching coach Hank Conger or pitching coach Pete Maki, then squats behind the plate and gets a first-hand look.

Afterward, equipped with all that knowledge, he consults each pitcher individually.

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"I'll say, 'Hey, I noticed this in the numbers, how did you get there? What do you think about doing this? How comfortable were you with how I set up on that certain pitch? What do you want me to know? How can I make you better?' " Jeffers said. "That's how you build trust with them, through that collaboration. That way, when we get out on the field, our brains are synched up. So that's how I use the extra week. That's what I'm focused on — starting tomorrow."

Has he ever conducted a bullpen session and been particularly impressed with what he sees?

"Yeah, almost every time I'm catching a big-league arm. Anyone who's been around for a while, something always stands out. You never think, hmm, that's kind of average," Jeffers said. "Doesn't matter if they're an up-and-down guy, back of the bullpen, whatever — if you've got big-league time, you've got something that plays."

Jeffers, meanwhile, has a little more of something that spends now, too. Having reached three seasons of service time, the 26-year-old was eligible for salary arbitration last winter. He didn't need the process — "We settled in about 10 minutes," he said — but the leverage the system provides allowed him to more than triple his salary, from the big-league minimum of $741,650 last year to $2.425 million in 2024, or almost $15,000 per game.

"It's cool to start earning a little bit more. It can be a funky process for catchers because you don't play every day, but the Twins did a good job of understanding my value and not lumping me in with part-time catchers," Jeffers said. "Now it's time to go start earning it."