Ever since Kurt Suzuki joined the Minnesota Twins, he has stepped up in some important situations.
Suzuki played college ball while attending California State University, Fullerton. During the 2004 College World Series championship, Suzuki hit an RBI single with two out in the bottom of the seventh to give his team the win over the Texas Longhorns.
Suzuki won the Johnny Bench Award that year for being the top catcher in the country at the collegiate level, as well as a being a recipient for the first ever Brooks Wallace Award. Additionally, Suzuki was selected as an All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.
In 2004, Suzuki was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the second round and was assigned to the Single-A Vancouver Canadians, where he batted .247 in 46 games.
Suzuki then spent 2005 with the Single-A Stockton Ports. In 114 games, Suzuki had a .277 batting average, .440 slugging percentage, 12 home runs and 65 RBIs.
Suzuki climbed quickly in the baseball world. In 200 moved up and played for the Double-A Midland RockHounds. By 2007, Suzuki began the season with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats.
On June 12, 2007, Suzuki made his Major League debut with the Athletics, where he played as a pinch hitter against the Houston Astros. September 10 marked the first time Suzuki would hit a grand slam against the Seattle Mariners.
To date, Suzuki had his best year 2009, when he hit .274/.313/.421 in 147 games. In that time, Suzuki had 156 hits, 74 runs, 37 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, and 88 RBI.
In August 2012, Suzuki was traded to the Washington Nationals for minor league catcher David Freitas, and remained there through the 2013 season.
A year after being traded to the Nationals, Suzuki was traded back to Oakland for Minor leaguer Dakota Bacus.
Suzuki was then traded to the Twins in December 2013 and now fills in as the primary catcher. Ever since then, he has tried to contribute as best he can.
“Suzuki wants to catch every inning of every game,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Night game, day game. He’s the first person who comes walking in.”
In 29 games so far this season, Suzuki is hitting .300/.381/.400, and has struck out only eight times, the fewest by any player with 100 at-bats or more. On top of that, Suzuki has 30 hits, seven doubles, and one home run. He also has 24 RBIs, the second most behind Chris Colabello, who has 30.
At 30 years old, Suzuki could still have a few more years of Major League play time in him. But, because he is getting older, it is still best to be cautious with how much he plays.
“It’s all good and fine this time of year, but what it’s going to be like at the All-Star break and after that? So we have to be careful.” Gardenhire said.
With Suzuki as hot as he is right now, it is best that the Twins try to keep him as healthy as possible. If Suzuki were to land on the disabled list, the Twins could be in a whole world of trouble in fighting back to the top of the division, especially with the hand full of other injuries taking place in the past couple of weeks.
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