Twins' Parmelee Updates His Uppercut Swing





MINNEAPOLIS—It's not what Chris Parmelee did in the Arizona Fall League in 2010 that stands out. It's what the first baseman didn't do.

While his home run total dropped from four in 2009 to zero a year later, that's not the absence the Twins are most interested in. It's this: Parmelee, Minnesota's first-round pick in 2006, struck out just 17 times, or once every 7.6 at-bats, as opposed to the 24 whiffs, or one per 3.3 at-bats, that he piled up in '09.

It's the result of a scrap-it-and-start-over remake of Parmelee's swing, an overhaul undertaken with the assistance of minor league hitting coordinator Bill Springman and Double-A New Britain hitting coach Rudy Hernandez to transform an all-or-nothing upper-cutter into a major league hitter.

"It's really hard to do. A swing is a swing, and they don't change much after high school," vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff said. "He's like a golfer who changes his game mid-career. Not many guys try it."

The 22-year-old Parmelee improved his strikeout rate dramatically in 2010, whiffing in about 17 percent of his at-bats. Just two years ago, that figure registered at 37 percent.

"Now he's got a chance to arrive with some velocity, on time," Radcliff said. "He's got a quick trigger, and he's eliminated the finish that made everything a fly ball."

Parmelee is considered the Twins' most advanced power hitter, so hitting zero homers in the hitter-friendly conditions of the AFL isn't being celebrated. But he made up for it by batting .339/.405/.477 with 11 doubles, many of them by taking pitches the opposite way to left-center.

"People say he lost his power, but I don't think he has," Radcliff said. "He'll have to throw some home runs on the board to get to the big leagues, but we like how he's attacked his weaknesses.

"He's made substantial progress. If he can put it into effect in the spring, he'll have taken a big step."

TWIN KILLINGS

• The Twins dealt third-string catcher Jose Morales, who will be out of options this season, to the Rockies for lefty reliever Paul Bargas, a 22-year-old who went 5-4, 3.59 for low Class A Asheville last season.

• The Twins signed 28-year-old third baseman Michael Hollimon to a minor league deal. He missed much of the 2009 season after having shoulder surgery and then spent the '10 season in independent ball. He went 6-for-23 for the Tigers in 2008 and spent parts of two seasons in Triple-A.