After long slump, Twins’ Alex Kirilloff turning the corner

posted in: News | 0

Alex Kirilloff had struggled at the major league level in the past, but not like this.

When he hasn’t hit, there’s always been a clear reason — and it’s always been directly tied to his health. It’s been his wrist, which twice had to be surgically repaired. Or, it’s been his shoulder, which required surgery, as well.

But he’s fully healthy now, so what gives?

“Everyone goes through those sorts of things. It doesn’t surprise me at all,” Kirilloff said. “It just kind of sucks when you’re going through it. It’s just like, I don’t know what’s going on. You’re mentally just tired of always just trying to think about it.”

He entered Saturday hitting just .114 with a .188 OBP and .318 slugging percentage in the month of May. But he’s been putting in plenty of early work and the past two days have offered plenty of signs that he’s turned the corner.

Kirilloff pulled a 400-foot home run to right field in Friday night’s win over the Rangers. Saturday, he followed that up by going 2 for 4 and crushing a three-run blast in the eighth inning to left-center to topple the Rangers once again.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “Any time you’re driving the ball to any part of the park, there’s some good things to take from that so being able to drive it to right field and left-center, it feels good.”

As he’s tried to change course, Kirilloff has been putting in a lot of extra early work. The goal of it has been simple, even if the actual process was not.

“Just trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong,” he said. “Just trying to hit better.”

There isn’t one thing he pinpointed. It was both his approach and his mechanics, he said. Usually he looks at his approach first, before diving into his mechanics to try to diagnose something there.

“It was like try to make adjustments, try to make adjustments and nothing seemed to work,” he said. “I just had to keep at it and really try to figure out what was going on. I feel better now and hitting and doing the early work on the field is just the time that I have to have some leeway and figure out what I need to do in the games. It’s always good to do that when you’re not feeling good.”

Now, he’s starting to feel a little better and the results are starting to follow.  It’s just a matter of putting it together consistently.

“I think the main thing is he’s always hit,” bench coach Jayce Tingler said. “He’s hit at every level. So for him, just to get the confidence of starting to get some hits. We think the swing is good, looking like he’s in a good spot and now hopefully the confidence builds.”

Duran shines on Bobblehead Day

Watching from the bullpen, Jhoan Duran didn’t think there was a chance he’d get into Saturday afternoon’s game. The team, after all, had been trailing for most of the day.

That is, until Kirilloff’s late home run.

It meant that on a day where fans lined up hours early to receive a special bobblehead, they got to see him record a save, as well.

The bobblehead pays tribute to Duran’s entrance with a button that plays the bell that blasts around the stadium when he enters and lights that mimic those that flash when he runs in. And in the middle is the closer, running towards the mound.

He’s not sure how many he plans to take home — but he’s got an idea.

“Maybe a bus (full),” he joked.


Max Kepler played in his 1,000th game as a Twin on Saturday. Kepler, who debuted in 2015, is the 18th Twin to reach that milestone mark. … Pablo López will take the ball on Sunday, looking to rebound from a start in which he gave up seven runs in his five innings pitched.

Related Articles

Minnesota Twins |

Late-dramatics send Twins to fourth straight win

Minnesota Twins |

Twins beat defending champion Rangers for third straight win

Minnesota Twins |

Twins’ Royce Lewis to start rehab Saturday as return draws closer

Minnesota Twins |

During roller coaster of a season, Twins try to maintain consistent attitude

Minnesota Twins |

Twins’ Edouard Julien trying to rule again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.