9/7/2013 7:29 P.M. ET
Colabello finding success with tweaked mechanics
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Colabello said a fix in his swing mechanics has led to better results at the plate.
Colabello has been on fire through the first five games of September, hitting .400 with three homers, a double and eight RBIs after going hitless in his final seven games of August. Entering Saturday, Colabello was hitting .266/.382/.531 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 19 games dating back to Aug. 6,
Colabello said he worked with hitting coach Tom Brunansky to fix his mechanics, and he realized that he had dealt with a similar issue at Triple-A Rochester.
"It was something I had actually had gone through in early May, where I was releasing too early with my top hand," Colabello said. "That's what allows me to get to balls inside and hit fastballs. I actually found a text I had sent to a friend in early May, and had one of those moments where I slapped myself in the back of the head for not being aware of it."
Colabello, 29, figures to get plenty of playing time at first base the rest of the season, especially with Justin Morneau now in Pittsburgh. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire isn't ready to say whether he believes Colabello can be a full-time first baseman moving forward.
Colabello is hitting .216/.300/.400 with seven homers in 40 games with the Twins this year, and he's posted 46 strikeouts. He also won International League MVP honors after hitting .352/.427/.639 with 24 homers and 25 doubles in 89 games with Triple-A Rochester.
"I think we just need to let it play out," Gardenhire said. "He has a lot of strikeouts right now, but he's put the ball in the seats. So you'd like to see some more contact. But he's definitely a different-type swinger with a lot flowing toward the pitcher's mound. So it's a work in progress with him. We're just letting him play it out, and not try to decide on his future until he has more time here."
Callup Pinto tearing it up in Majors
MINNEAPOLIS -- Josmil Pinto has been making the most of his first taste of the big leagues, as the catcher is hitting .643 (9-for-14) with a homer and two doubles in his first four games with the Twins.
It's been an impressive showing at the plate so far for Pinto, who also fared well in the Minors this year. The 24-year-old had a .309/.400/.482 slash line with 15 homers and 74 RBIs in 126 games split between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester before being called up on Aug. 31.
Pinto connected on his first big league home run in the ninth inning of Friday's 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays.
"He's a pretty excited kid," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's still learning about the pitchers and all that. But he's got a real nice compact swing and has some pop. And he's doing a decent job behind the plate with these guys, trying to learn."
Along with Chris Herrmann, Pinto is expected to see plenty of action at catcher this month, as Ryan Doumit will be used in more of a utility role. There's still no timetable for Joe Mauer's return, but when he comes back, he'll also be in the mix behind the plate.
"With [Pinto's] bat and the way he's swinging, it sure is fun to watch him walk up to the plate right now," Gardenhire said. "It's what we want to see. [Pinto and Herrmann] will see a lot of time catching, and we'll use Doumit in other roles."
• Joe Mauer took batting practice with his teammates on Saturday for the first time since suffering a concussion on Aug. 19. Mauer also took batting practice before Friday's game, but it was part of early workouts. Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Mauer is continuing to make progress and hasn't suffered any setbacks, but there's still no timetable for his return.
• Class A Advanced Fort Myers coach Tommy Watkins joined the Twins' coaching staff on Saturday and will remain with the club for the rest of the year. Triple-A Rochester manager Gene Glynn will also join the club once Rochester's season ends, according to Gardenhire.
• Brian Dozier became the fifth second baseman in the American League with at least 30 two-baggers when he doubled against the Blue Jays on Friday. Dozier has 51 extra-base hits, which ranks third among second baseman behind Robinson Cano (57) and Jason Kipnis (52).