Posted at 9:28 AM on September 28, 2008
by David Zingler
The Twins bullpen woes this season have been well documented. As a result, the relief corps could look drastically different in 2009. One of the candidates for a job heading into spring training will be 29-year-old Bobby Korecky.
Korecky, who came to the Twins from the Phillies organization in the Eric Milton for Carlos Silva/Nick Punto deal in 2003, has tallied 131 saves in his minor league career, including a career high 35 at Rochester in 2007. I had a quick conversation with the right-hander last week:
DZ: This has been a big year for you, you got a taste of things earlier and now are back for the stretch drive - what's that been like for you?
KORECKY: It's been what you dream about. I've been playing this game for a long time - gone through ups and downs - you just wonder what's it like to get the opportunity and when you do get it, it's just unimaginable - your imagination can only take you so far. The guys have been great, the coaches have been great - I've been put in some situations that have been really exciting - it's just fun to be a part of. This whole atmosphere - this whole playoff (race) - is pretty crazy.
DZ: Did (the veterans) do any hazing stuff on the last road trip?
KORECKY: Yeah. They dress the rookies up every year - we had these cute little outfits and went out and had dinner - it was a lot of fun. There were a lot of us doing it this year - there were about 15 guys, so it was a lot of fun hanging out with the guys.
DZ: Earlier this year, you put your name in the history books by being the first pitcher to get a hit in an American League game since the DH (was added in 1972). Do you have the ball or did the Hall of Fame want it?
KORECKY: I've got the ball and the helmet and the bat - I sent it home to my parents. I am going to keep it at home. It was Nick Punto's stuff that he let me use during the game. That was a lot of fun.
DZ: You've been a closer in the minor leagues and would probably like to be one in the major leagues someday - you can make a lot of money doing that - have you talked to Joe Nathan about (the position)?
KORECKY: I just watch how he goes about his stuff. For the past few years in spring training, I've watched what he does being one of the premier closers that this game will ever see. It's a lot of fun just to pick his brain every now and then, but it's a world of difference closing from where I was to where he is. You just do what you do and see what you can and try to let it sink in, in case that ever happens for me.
DZ: I've got to ask you about the tattoos, I noticed you have few - when did you start getting them?
KORECKY: About three years ago is when I started to get them. A guy in Rochester named Mike Balanca does them. (He's) a big fan of baseball and he's done some guys on the team, so I've gone to him for one piece of work each year. We'll see what the future brings.
DZ: What made you decide to get them?
KORECKY: (pauses)...You go through certain things...and you just want to live with them...I don't know how to exactly answer that. It's just something that I wanted to do.
(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
See more of David Zingler's interviews with Twins players:
September 26: Michael Cuddyer
September 25: Kevin Slowey
September 24: Jason Kubel
September 11: Denard Span
September 10: Mike Redmond
August 21: Randy Ruiz
August 20: Glen Perkins
August 12: Matt Guerrier
August 1: Nick Punto
July 31: Justin Morneau
July 30: Scott Baker
June 30: Brian Bass
June 27: Brian Buscher
June 18: Matt Macri
June 6: Craig Breslow
June 4: Michael Cuddyer
May 25: Nick Punto & Mike Redmond
May 20: Justin Morneau
May 1: Nick Blackburn
April 29: Brendan Harris
April 20: Jason Kubel
April 17: Denard Span
April 2: Matt Tolbert