BY DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Sports journalist
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – After Nelson Cruz re-teamed with the Minnesota Twins for his 17th season in the Major League, he was clearly unwilling to consider the idea of a farewell tour.
His bat has certainly not shown an end either.
“To be able to go where we want to go, I have to do my best. I have to do my best. I have to be at the top of my game. So I’m not thinking about retirement, ”said the 40-year-old. “My body feels great. My mind is still good too. So there is no reason. I still love the game. I don’t know what else to do. I have some plans after I retire, but I’m not ready yet. “
The twins signed their $ 13 million one-year deal on Wednesday with the designated batsman and most valuable player on the AL Central championship teams for the past two seasons. Uncertainty about whether the DH would be used in the NL this year added to the delay in reaching an agreement on assessing its market value, but both Cruz and the twins expressed a mutual desire that it would all the time should return.
Cruz, who agreed to the terms a week ago, said during a videoconference that his respect and admiration for team officials like General Manager Thad Levine, for whom he had previously played with Texas, sealed the deal.
“Ultimately, we know that we love each other and that we have a really good relationship,” said Cruz, who has led the twins at home races with the team for each of his two years with AL Batters in OPS. The six-time All-Star was honored with the Silver Slugger Award in 2019 and 2020.
Cruz fought .303 with 16 homers and 33 RBIs in 53 games during last year’s pandemic-cut schedule. He won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year in 2020, an honor chosen by his peers for a player most respected for his leadership skills on the field and in the community. Cruz also won the team’s MVP and Leadership awards for the past two seasons.
“I think we all know what Nelson can do on the field. Its power is amazing. But what he’s doing in our clubhouse and in our community is just as important, and every single club is looking for it, “said Levine.” I think we feel blessed that he has returned to our team. He’s such an important part. We saw how he increased the level of play of the people around him. For me this is a championship player. “
The first pitcher and catcher session of the spring training for the twins is scheduled for February 19, and the first full-roster training session will follow on February 23 as the club seeks to defend not just the division’s title, but it Record in the postseason of 18 games to end losing streak.
“I know what parts we need to jump over the mountain,” said Cruz, adding, “I trust the team we have and I trust the whole group of coaches and staff that we have.” I don’t want to be any other place. I want to do it for the city and the entire organization. “
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