DETROIT – Kurt Suzuki didn't have much time Wednesday to talk about reaching 1,000 games in the major leagues. He had to go stretch. Again.
"I stretch three times a day now," the 31-year-old catcher said. "When I was 23, I'd barely stretch at all — just get out there and play."
He realized long ago, though, that being more careful with the ligaments and muscles that help him squat behind the plate dozens of times a day might help him last a lot longer as a ballplayer. So he began carrying out an elaborate preparation ritual before each game, and in the past couple of seasons, even added a 15-minute postgame session, too.
All of that has helped make a player who isn't even six feet tall survive, and even thrive, in baseball's most physically demanding position. Since 2008, only Yadier Molina of the Cardinals and Russell Martin of the Blue Jays have caught more games than Suzuki, who on Wednesday doubled, singled, walked, drove in one run and played his 999th big-league game.
"Anybody that said they would expect to play 1,000 games up here, they're crazy," he said. "You can't take anything for granted in this game. It's pretty neat."
Only Torii Hunter and Joe Mauer have played more games among his current teammates, and no other Twin has played even half as many, underlining his point. It's why Suzuki doesn't complain about being forced to sit out a game or two per week.
"I know it's good for me, but sometimes I wish I played a position where I didn't have to do that," he said. "It disrupts your hitting a little bit. You want to be out there, swinging the bat every day, especially when you're going good. But as a catcher, it's tough to do that. I know it benefits me to rest my body."
A flick of his wrist, that's basically it. Blaine Boyer says the difference between being a batting-practice pitcher and a trusted late-inning reliever came down to the position of his hands.
Maddening, isn't it?
"It can be. I was a completely different pitcher before, and it was frustrating. I didn't even know which was up," Boyer said of his first four appearances of 2015, all on the Twins' season-opening road trip. He allowed a run in each, and came to his new home park with a 15.00 ERA and nothing but doubt in the minds of Twins fans.
"But I made just a little adjustment. It was a timing issue — I needed to keep my hand a little bit higher in order to give my arm a chance to catch up," the 33-year-old righthander said. "It was affecting my command, but after I changed that, I'm throwing the way I knew I could."
Maybe even a little better. Boyer hasn't given up a run in his 12 appearances since then, a streak of 14 scoreless innings that have deflated that ERA down to 2.65 after retiring two batters on four pitches Wednesday to help preserve a 6-2 victory over Detroit. Batters are hitting .178 against him in that stretch.
"He didn't lose faith in himself, and we didn't lose faith in him, and he's responded very positively," manager Paul Molitor said. "With Casey Fien out [strained right shoulder], he's probably the guy out there I look to late in games from the right-hand side."
•Righthander Jose Berrios pitched a two-hit shutout for Class AA Chattanooga on Wednesday, walking two while striking out eight in a 3-0 victory at Birmingham. Berrios, considered one of the Twins' best pitching prospects, is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA for the Lookouts.
•Righthander Stephen Pryor, acquired from Seattle in last year's Kendrys Morales trade, underwent surgery Wednesday in Rochester, N.Y., to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Pryor was 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA for Class AAA Rochester this season.