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Colabello cleaning up in Twins' batting order

Special to MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- To say Chris Colabello has embraced hitting in the cleanup spot would be an understatement. For a Twins team needing an offensive boost, especially with the injury to Josh Willingham, Colabello's production in a high-profile spot in the lineup has been a welcome sight.

Colabello was given the assignment early in the season and has taken off, sharing the Major League lead in RBIs with Jose Abreu of the White Sox with 14 entering Saturday's game against the Royals.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- To say Chris Colabello has embraced hitting in the cleanup spot would be an understatement. For a Twins team needing an offensive boost, especially with the injury to Josh Willingham, Colabello's production in a high-profile spot in the lineup has been a welcome sight.

Colabello was given the assignment early in the season and has taken off, sharing the Major League lead in RBIs with Jose Abreu of the White Sox with 14 entering Saturday's game against the Royals.

Full Game Coverage

"I think my second start in Chicago," Colabello said, "[Manager Ron Gardenhire] sent Joe [Mauer] up to the two-hole, and hit Josh [Willingham] third and me fourth.

"I remember last year the one time I hit fourth was in Kansas City. [Hitting coach Tom Brunansky] came up to me in the cages and said, 'I don't want you to overthink this or try to do too much, but you're hitting fourth today.' I said, 'You don't have to worry about me when I'm hitting fourth.'"

Colabello, who tore up the International League last season by hitting .352 with 24 homers and 76 RBIs, said he's always hit third or fourth throughout his career.

"You've got to want to be in that spot," Colabello said. "It's the same thing with driving in runs. You've got to want to hit with guys on base. Down here, I'm supposed to produce runs and, thankfully, it's gone pretty well."

Acting manager Terry Steinbach recognized the tendency for some hitters to be overwhelmed batting cleanup.

"It's the weird thing about baseball," he said, "because you'll have a guy who will hit great in the sixth-hole, and you bring him to the four-hole, and his numbers change. I don't know why that is.

"We're happy [Colabello's] comfortable in that spot. I think what's even more impressive is the year he came off last year, working hard this offseason and coming into Spring Training very confident in his swing."

Kerry Walls is a contributor to MLB.com.

 

Minnesota Twins, Chris Colabello