Found April 17, 2013 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS Last season, at the ripe old age of 38, Twins infielder Jamey Carroll was an every-day player. He played in 138 games, just shy of his career high. One year later, Carroll's role in Minnesota has changed drastically. Through the first two weeks of the 2013 season, the 39-year-old Carroll is no longer an every-day player. In fact, he's made just two starts this year and has been used in late-inning situations in three others. You would never know it, though, by watching Carroll go about his business before games and in the clubhouse. His demeanor hasn't changed from one year to the next despite the considerable drop-off in his workload. Before Wednesday's rained-out game against the Angels, Carroll was on the field at 2 o'clock earlier than normal taking infield practice with some of the team's younger players. Now in his 12th season in the majors, Carroll has a different perspective on what his role will be on a team filled with young infield talent. "He's 39 going on 24," said second baseman Brian Dozier. "He's a good one to look up to." Last season, Carroll's first in Minnesota, the veteran utility man played three different infield positions for the Twins but spent the most time at second base. He also moved around to shortstop and third base, playing whichever position manager Ron Gardenhire needed him to play. Carroll has taken that same mentality into the 2013 season, playing wherever and whenever the team needs him to. So far, he's only been needed twice as the starting second baseman, once as a pinch runner, once as a pinch hitter and once as a defensive replacement in the Twins' first 13 games. Coming to the park and not knowing whether (or where) he'll play is something Carroll has had to get used to. "You just come in and wait and see. Then you adjust otherwise," Carroll said. "You just go out and try to get and stay as game-ready as possible. When you get that opportunity, you also understand that it's maybe a long time since you've played and to not try to put the pressure on yourself, which is tough. But at the same time, also understand your expectations of what it is." In 138 games last year, Carroll batted .268 with a career-high 40 RBI and stole nine bases. This season, he's had just nine plate appearances and has one hit and one walk. Sitting on the bench for extended periods of time can be tough for a player, and Carroll's manager knows that. But he also knows that could change. "He's a veteran and I can stick him anywhere," Gardenhire said. "As we go along in the season, you get deeper in the season, you're going to be moving people around a little bit more. I don't like to sit anybody too awful long. He's been sitting quite a bit here. . But he's going to get plenty of playing time." Playing in the cold weather the Twins have had to endure during these first two weeks hasn't been easy on anyone, especially those sitting on the bench all game. Carroll said he tries to stretch and take some swings before coming into a game cold (literally), but it's still a tough task. "It's definitely a challenge, but you make the most of it and not use it as an excuse and understand that it's a part of it, just like anything else," he said. "For me, it's more of just trying to get loose on the bench and still trying to stay out there and feel the game and see the game and see where it is that you might have a possibility of getting in." When he's not on the field or in the lineup, Carroll has continued to be a mentor to the rest of Minnesota's infielders. He's more than a decade older than most of them. Dozier is 26, as are third baseman Trevor Plouffe and shortstop Pedro Florimon. Utility infielder Eduardo Escobar is just 24 15 years younger than Carroll. Carroll had the chance to play with all of them at different times last year. He and Dozier have worked especially close since the beginning of last spring when Carroll first joined the team. "He's one of a kind," Dozier said. "He's my biggest mentor, to be honest with you, with everything: on the field stuff, how to prepare. You just see this guy and he works harder than anybody." That work ethic has certainly caught the attention of Gardenhire, who during his managerial career has seemed to take a liking to players like Carroll that are able to play multiple positions in the field. While the Twins skipper now uses Carroll in a different fashion than he did just one year ago, he still admires the veteran infielder's versatility and willingness to do whatever the team needs. "He's definitely a professional hitter and player," Gardenhire said. "He knows the job as a utility guy and he knows there's going to be times when you have to sit for a few days. If anybody can handle it, he can." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Twins alter lineup, shift Hicks to eighth spot

MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Twins finally moved Aaron Hicks out of the leadoff spot. The 23-year-old Hicks, who made his Major League debut on Opening Day this season, has started 10 games as the Twins' leadoff hitter. But he's batting eighth in Tuesday's lineup against the Angels. Meanwhile, second baseman Brian Dozier will take Hicks' leadoff spot. Hicks has struggled...

Twins Wednesday: Dozier intriguing at leadoff

MINNEAPOLIS Lost in the shuffle of Joe Mauer's four-hit night on Tuesday was the performance of the guy hitting ahead of him in the Twins' lineup. Second baseman Brian Dozier led off against the Angels, his first career start as Minnesota's leadoff man. His 2-for-4 night was enough to convince manager Ron Gardenhire to put Dozier back in the leadoff spot for the second...

Twins fans can now upgrade their Target Field seats in-game via smartphone app

As a new feature of the wildly successful “At the Ballpark” app available at MLB.com, Minnesota Twins fans now will be able to upgrade their seats while attending games at Target Field, which is already outfitted with free Wi-Fi. A limited number of seats reportedly will be made available for upgrades throughout home games this season after the gates open. The “At the Ballpark”...

Twins rotation going deeper into games

MINNEAPOLIS All offseason, the main emphasis for the Minnesota Twins was to improve their starting rotation. To do so, the team signed two veteran free agents and traded for another pitcher in hopes of rebuilding what had been the American League's worst starting staff in 2012. Though it's still early in the 2013 season, it appears those offseason changes have made a difference...

Twins place Darin Mastroianni on DL, recall Oswaldo Arcia

The Minnesota Twins made some relatively under-the-radar moves yesterday.  They placed left fielder Darin Mastroianni on the disabled list while recalling Oswaldo Arcia to fill out the 25-man roster.  Mastroianni had been battling a sore left ankle and was scratched from last night's game before eventually being placed on the DL. Darin Mastroianni is headed to the DL...

Twins place Mastroianni on disabled list

The Minnesota Twins have placed outfielder Darin Mastroianni on the 15-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his left ankle. Mastroianni injured his ankle on Monday night against the Los Angeles Angels and was a late scratch on Tuesday when he couldn't run on it. He left Target Field in a walking boot and will be replaced on the roster by outfielder Oswaldo Arcia. Arcia...

Twins 8, Angels 6

Joe Mauer had another four hits and three RBIs to lead the Minnesota Twins to an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. Mauer sprayed four singles into the Target Field outfield, making him 8 for 10 in the series through two games and raising his average to .386. Brian Dozier added two hits and two RBIs in his first career game batting leadoff for the Twins. Left-hander...

Angels' Vargas roughed up in 8-6 loss to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Joe Mauer had another four hits and three RBIs to lead the Minnesota Twins to an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. Mauer sprayed four singles into the Target Field outfield, making him 8 for 10 in the series through two games and raising his average to .386. Brian Dozier added two hits and two RBIs in his first career game batting leadoff for...

Angels-Twins series finale postponed by rain

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins have had their series finale at Target Field postponed by rain. The decision was made about 15 minutes before the scheduled start of Wednesday night's game. The Twins won the first two games of the series to drop the Angels to 4-10, matching their worst start in franchise history. The Twins said the makeup date...
Twins News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.