Posted at 9:20 PM on June 18, 2008
by David Zingler
Since Corey Koskie left as a free agent following the 2004 season, third base has been a black hole for the Twins. Michael Cuddyer, Tony Batista, Nick Punto and Mike Lamb are among an ever-growing group of players who have been unable to take ownership of the position.
26-year-old Matt Macri is among the latest to audition at the hot corner. I caught up with the Notre Dame grad before tonight's game to get his take on the situation:
DZ: You've been up in the big leagues for a few weeks now, what's that experience been like so far?
MACRI: I like coming to the park everyday. It's a great group of guys; we have a lot of fun.
DZ: A couple of weeks ago you almost got sent down, but not quite. Take us through what happened.
MACRI: That (June 5) was a crazy day. I got optioned down and was actually at the airport, at the gate ready to go to Buffalo and meet up with Rochester. That's when I got the call saying, "We need you to come back." I got the bags off the original flight and got on the team plane (to Chicago)."
DZ: You were traded to the Twins last year (for Ramon Ortiz), where were you when you found out about that?
MACRI: I was at Colorado Springs - Triple A for the Rockies. I was at the park, in the line-up, so I started getting ready and the manager calls me in and says, "I have to take you out of the line-up and I can't tell you why, but I'll let you know more when I know."
About an hour later he finally calls me in and said I was traded, so I got the next flight out the next day.
DZ: Were you surprised about that?
MACRI: Yeah. It was definitely surprising, you don't really hear anything about it, but you always know it is an option. In the minors you are not just playing for your team, you are playing for other guys and those opportunities. It was definitely a surprise.
DZ: One you learned a little more about the Twins and saw their situation at third base, were you encouraged by that?
MACRI: You are always encouraged by new opportunities with different teams, you get a new set of eyes on you and it can open some doors for you.
DZ: You grew up in Des Moines, IA. Did you follow the Twins growing up?
MACRI: Not so much. I wasn't a Twins fan, I was actually a Braves fan oddly enough, watching them on TBS...I just watched them everyday, I think I was a little bit of a front runner.
DZ: You have played a little second base this year too, have you played that position before?
MACRI: I have. Every year in pro ball, I've been at a different position. In '06, I played a full year at second base. I am real comfortable there. The last couple of years, I have kind of been all over the place.
DZ: How about your first hit and first homerun balls - where are they now?
MACRI: I've got the homerun ball in my locker right now, ready to get shipped out and the (first hit) one is back in Chicago at my residence.
DZ: I heard that you got a fan to give you back your first homerun ball.
MACRI: Yeah. Surprisingly, one of our front office guys - Mike (Herman) - saw the guy who caught it (in Cleveland). So he kept an eye on the guy, made sure he didn't go anywhere and they sent a guy up there to ask the guy if he'd give the ball back and thankfully, he did.
DZ: Did he ask for anything?
MACRI: No, not at all. He just happily gave it back. I was glad.
See more of David Zingler's interviews with Twins players:
June 18th: Matt Macri
June 6th: Craig Breslow
June 4th: Michael Cuddyer
May 25th: Nick Punto & Mike Redmond
May 20th: Justin Morneau
May 1st: Nick Blackburn
April 29th: Brendan Harris
April 20th: Jason Kubel
April 17th: Denard Span
April 2nd: Matt Tolbert