(Seattle, WA) — Kennys Vargas wants to show he belongs in the major
To that end, the hulking Minnesota Twins first baseman put on quite
a show in batting practice Wednesday before a game against the
Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. He might get a chance to do so in
regulation action Thursday during the series finale between the
Vargas, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, drew oohs and
aahs from Minnesota teammates and those in the crowd when he hit a
towering shot over the Hit It Here Cafe and into the upper deck in
right field. Retired slugger Mo Vaughn is the only player to reach
that level in a game.
“Every time you get called up, it’s good to show you can produce at
this level,” Vargas said through a translator.
Vargas was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday when the
Twins put shortstop Jorge Polanco on the bereavement list. Polanco
left the team Tuesday after the death of his grandfather in the
“Any time one of your teammates loses somebody, you feel bad for
him,” Vargas said. “We’re praying for him and hope all goes well.
But this is my job.”
Vargas, 26, hit .258 with five home runs and 19 RBIs before being
sent down May 29 when the Twins needed to bolster their pitching
Asked if being sent to the minors was made easier because it wasn’t
because of poor performance but rather roster needs, Vargas shook
“It’s not up to me. I don’t control that,” he said. “I’m part of
this team (now). I went down and did my job, prepared to come back
and help the team win.”
Vargas wasn’t in the Twins’ starting lineup Wednesday in Seattle’s
6-5 win, and manager Paul Molitor didn’t commit to whether he might
be Thursday against right-hander Christian Bergman (3-2, 4.36 ERA)
when they wrap up the three-game series.
Bergman will be making his first career appearance against
“Where I think he’ll fit in the lineup, we’ll use him,” Molitor
said of Vargas. “When Jorge gets back, we’ll see where we’re at. We
might not see Jorge until Monday.”
With an interleague series at San Francisco coming up this weekend,
Molitor said the Twins will have to decide whether to keep an extra
pitcher or batter.
“Baseball is baseball,” Vargas said. “Triple-A to the big leagues
is a little different; it’s up to the hitters to make adjustments.”
A pitcher trying to make adjustments is Twins right-hander Kyle
Gibson (2-4, 7.23 ERA), who is scheduled to oppose Bergman on
Gibson is 2-0 since his own stint in the minors. Last Friday
against the Angels, he had season highs with 5 2/3 innings pitched
and six strikeouts.
“I’m trying to stay away from the feeling like one outing or one
inning or one pitch means I’m back,” Gibson said. “I’m just trying
to stay grounded. Getting sent down gave me a chance to reset.”
Gibson has had success against Seattle, going 2-2 with a 2.92 ERA
in six career starts against them.
He might get a chance to face the Mariners without two their most
dangerous hitters. Shortstop Jean Segura, who leads the American
League with a .341 batting average, is on the 10-day disabled list
with a high right ankle sprain, and designated hitter Nelson Cruz,
who is tied for the AL lead with 46 RBIs, might miss his second
consecutive game due to right calf tightness.
Segura signed a five-year, $70 million contract extension Wednesday.
“I’m really excited about that, for both Jean and the Mariners,”
Seattle manager Scott Servais said, “but I’ll be more excited to
get him back in the lineup.”