Twins Find Colabello In Indy Ball

First baseman takes unusual route to affiliated baseball





MINNEAPOLIS—He got noticed when a friend emailed every team asking for a shot. A skeptical scout gave him a winter tryout inside a gymnasium. He's the oldest player on his team, yet has far less experience playing in a major league organization than any of his teammates.

Lots of players take an unusual route to the big leagues. Chris Colabello's path is more like trying to get to Minneapolis via Saturn.

"I guess how you play is more important than how you get here," Twins farm director Jim Rantz said. "When he's on the field, nobody cares where we found him."

Good thing, because the Twins found Colabello, Double-A New Britain's new first baseman and DH, in the independent Can-Am League. Undrafted out of Assumption (Mass.) College, Colabello chose to extend his baseball career by playing for Worcester—and ended up staying seven years.

"You look at his numbers, they're impressive," Rantz said, pointing out that Colabello hit better than .300 in all seven years, and last year put together a .348/.410/.600 season with 20 home runs. "I know it's independent ball, but sometimes you get surprised by what you find there."

What they found, at the urging of Colabello's friend, was a 28-year-old ballplayer with 2,522 plate appearances who desperately wanted another shot at a minor league job. The Twins had an opening and decided to take a look.

"He profiled really well for what we were looking for," Rantz said. "Anyone with the experience he has deserves an opportunity."

He won a Double-A job in spring training, and happily accepted the assignment, Rantz said. "Chris is having fun. He plays hard, and he isn't worried about the future. "

TWIN KILLINGS

• Catcher Phillip Chapman, the Twins' 2011 35th-round pick out of Memphis, decided to retire from baseball after injuring his knee during the offseason. Chapman, 22, hit .308/.392/.442 in 104 at-bats in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last season.

• Righthander Terry Doyle, selected with the No. 2 overall pick in last December's Rule 5 draft, was returned to the White Sox after posting a 16.88 ERA in three spring starts. Doyle, who pitched last season for Double-A Birmingham, impressed the Twins with a 4-0, 1.98 record in the Arizona Fall League, but could not repeat the performance this spring.