Here are the chat transcripts from when I chatted with a few of the Twins players who have shuttled to and from Rochester this season.
Each interview began with me asking: “Can you please touch a little bit on how the situation in Rochester has been with players shuttling back and forth on a regular basis?” With a few of the guys, it was interesting to hear about how their first call-up went, too.
Brian Dinkelman: It’s tough with guys moving around so much. I know we’ve probably lost 10 or 11 guys from Rochester to come up here, and back and forth. It makes it tough for Rochester, you know, cause I think the other day they only had nine players for the whole game, position player wise. It makes it tough on the guys, because guys are kinda outta position and not sure what’s going to go on. It definitely makes it tough. I know the guys are battling to do the best they can.
BW: How great was it to get the call the first time? What were the emotions that you went through? Who took you aside? Just kinda go through that a little bit.
BD: We had a day game that day, and I was already back home for the day. My cell phone rang, and it was our manager from AAA Tom Nieto, and he said I was going to the big leagues and joining the team the next day. It was exciting because you work for all those years to try get that chance and to finally get that phone call, it was exciting. I couldn’t wait to get here.
BW: Who was your first call?
BD: I called my wife first, but she was actually busy at work so she didn’t answer. I finally got a hold of her, and I called my parents after that.
Ben Revere: You know, it’s been really crazy out there. The manager down there is losing his mind a little bit (laughs). No, he’s real happy to see his guys go up to the majors and hates to see them come back down, but it’s part of the game. We have a bunch of guys we signed here the past couple days, or who got released, or who have gotten hurt. We’ve also brought a lot of guys up from Double-A and High-A, so it’s been really crazy busy down there. I’ve been hearing they’ve been doing decent; the pitching staff’s been doing good and the hitting has still been pretty good because we have a good coaching staff down there. Right now, it doesn’t seem too bad but after a while you see all the news and stuff, and it’s been crazy.
BW: After the first time you get the call to the bigs, does it feel any different, or does it still feel pretty cool to know you’re coming up here to play for a while. Does the feeling diminish any?
BR: You know, I had some experience with that in September of last year. Last year it was like “Wow”, but this year it’s kinda like “Let’s get busy, let’s get going.” It’s kinda like we’re a little behind right now, but now we’ve got a couple wins under our belt. We’re having a lot more fun right now. Right now it’s me just trying to help this team as much as I can, and just trying to be the best I can. Hopefully I can stay up here.
BW: Are you starting to feel comfortable up here? Are you starting to feel established as a guy who can feel real comfortable in his role with the big-league club?
BR: I’m trying to; I don’t want to be too comfortable, or I might get in trouble with some of the veteran guys (laughs). But, I try to. I feel a lot more comfortable than I did last year. You’ve just got to prepare yourself for the game, and see how everybody goes about it. Like I said, I feel a lot more comfortable than I did in September, and hopefully I can keep it going. Hopefully I can stay up here with the guys, and if not, I’ll just keep busting my tail until hopefully I do get a spot.
Rene Rivera: I mean it’s awesome. You gotta feel great when your teammates get called up. This year, a lot of guys are getting called up here and it’s good for them and it’s good for the team. It means a lot.
BW: How’d it feel for you to get the call?
RR: It was awesome. I’d been waiting for five years when I got the call up, and I finally did it. I try to do my best, and play 100 percent, and see what happens.
BW: How is your rapport with Francisco Liriano? You obviously worked well together today (Liriano’s near no-hitter last Sunday). How do you feel with him overall?
RR: Great. He’s got great stuff. He had great command of the strike zone. His breaking ball and changeup were the best I’ve ever seen, and he just was great. You saw the game, I mean, he was just the best.
Luke Hughes: I heard that they had nine position players the other day. So, I know it’s going to be tough for those boys down there. I’ve been down in Triple-A when we’ve been playing short, and when everyone’s out there busting hard, but it’s fun you know. Everyone’s coming up and contributing up here and everyone’s done a good job. It’s been great to see these guys, and myself included, stepping up and helping the Twins out.
Rene Tosoni: You know, it’s really interesting seeing guys come up and go down. It’s kinda tough as a team; you can’t continue going without a solid lineup. Sometimes we have nine guys on the bench, sometimes we have 13. We’ve got injuries on both teams, and it’s very interesting to see and to be a part of it is fun. You always love to come up here, right? But, you always get to go back down and see how it’s working as a team. It’s kinda tough.
BW: A big part of team sports is knowing you can trust your teammates on the field; is that tough playing with a different guy every day next to you, maybe in center field?
RT: No, you get comfortable with guys. I’ve been playing next to Revere for the last two years, so me and him have a good bond. We know who can cover what. We have new guys coming out to different positions too, so you kinda just gotta help those guys out, but I’m pretty sure if you’re in Triple-A, you can get the job done. It’s not really a worry about if you can trust anybody.
BW: You got your first call-up this year. Can you tell me a little about what that was like, the thrill or exhilaration of getting that first call, and who you called first?
RT: It was awesome. I called my wife at home to tell her. When Tom Nieto called me and told me I was going up, I didn’t really believe him because we have a good relationship, so I thought maybe he was joking around or something. When he told me, it was probably the best memory of my life so far, so it was awesome coming up here and being with the team and being able to play.
Phil Dumatrait: You know, things happened up here to where people got chances. I don’t think it really changed anything down there, it was just that certain guys were in certain situations and they were needed. It’s great for them, and like Chuck said, you just shake a lot of hands and continue to throw the ball well, and the time came.
BW: How did the call from the Twins to get you up here feel any different than maybe your first or any other call you’ve gotten from other clubs you’ve been with?
PD: You know, it was just as exciting. I was out of the country last year. I came back to the states, and obviously wanted to pitch in the big leagues. When you get that call, you just try to make the most of the opportunity.
Hopefully someone out there finds this interesting!