From the official web site of the Minnesota Twins: Matt Tolbert (Dans 2001) came into his first big league Spring Training this year with the hope of just making it through round one of cuts. Now, the Twins’ utility infielder is starting to learn what it’s like to play in the Majors on an almost everyday basis due to a series of illness and injuries. Tolbert has played in six of the team’s 1st seven games this season making two starts at 2nd base and two at shortstop. But for all his defensive flexibility, his bat is much of the reason for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire choosing to keep Tolbert in the lineup.
Tolbert entered Sunday’s game hitting .444 (4-for-9) and went 2–for-4 at the plate in his 2nd start at shortstop.
Although Tolbert seemed to be a long-shot to make the ball club out of spring, Gardenhire said it was the way Tolbert went about his business that made him an easy choice. “I liked his at-bats in Spring Training and the way he caught the ball,” Gardenhire said. “It’s hard not to enjoy him. In addition to his work habits, he brings that little bit of zaniness.” Tolbert is known for not only checking his batting stance in the mirror a few times a day but also leaving his equipment spread throughout the dugout. It’s all those quirks that have him bringing a bit of humor and smiles into the Twins’ clubhouse.
With the starters expected to return today, it is unclear whether Tolbert will play in the upcoming White Sox series. But if his offense has anything to do with it, Gardenhire might just find it necessary to get Tolbert in the game. “……his offense, that’s another bonus for us. He’s a guy that could step up and do some things – a young man who doesn’t look like he’s afraid out there.”