DETROIT -- About a month ago, manager Paul Molitor and Ehire Adrianza talked about how the shortstop could improve at the plate. But the conversation wasn't as conventional as a coach saying what needs to be done."It wasn't like manager to player. It was more like friends," Adrianza said Thursday
DETROIT -- About a month ago, manager Paul Molitor and Ehire Adrianza talked about how the shortstop could improve at the plate. But the conversation wasn't as conventional as a coach saying what needs to be done.
"It wasn't like manager to player. It was more like friends," Adrianza said Thursday before the Twins' series finale against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Adrianza, 28, struggled as a hitter through all of April and most of May. He batted .265 last season with the Twins, but that was in only 70 games, the highest mark of his five-year Major League career. Adrianza is the everyday shortstop now. Thursday was his 50th game. In search of a fresh perspective on how to make himself better in the batter's box, Adrianza turned to Molitor, the 2017 American League Manager of the Year Award winner.
"He was just very open-minded about looking for things that he could do to help himself get back on track," said Molitor. "It was a conversation between two people who want the best for each other. I was trying to do what I could to get him settled back in, and I think he's responded pretty well."
Adrianza prefers to keep the specifics of the conversation private -- not because he's hiding secrets, but because he was talking to Molitor as something other than a manager.
"When people are looking for a little bit of counsel, you try to make it where there's a trust that you've established with the player," said Molitor. "Hopefully it helps the effectiveness of the conversation and the information being exchanged."
Since going 0-for-3 on May 19 against the Brewers, Adrianza has made noticeable improvements. His batting average climbed to .234 by the end of the month, and he entered Thursday's game hitting .300 in June. The highlight of Adrianza's resurgence came on Tuesday, when he hit a two-out grand slam in the seventh inning to give the Twins a late lead against the Tigers.
"I think I gained my confidence back," said Adrianza. "I'm just going to keep working on the things that will help me right now. It's going to take a long time because it's a process. But my numbers are going to be better."
Molitor said he expects first baseman Joe Mauer to be playing for the Twins on Friday night in Cleveland. Mauer has been on the disabled list since May 19 with a neck strain and concussion-like symptoms. Mauer played in three rehab games with Triple-A Rochester, going a combined 0-for-10.
Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.