Berrios aims to surpass breakout season

Righty wants to pitch 200 innings, become an All-Star

January 31st, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's not hard for Twins fans to monitor what is up to in the offseason. The right-hander routinely posts his workouts and throwing sessions from Puerto Rico via social media.

But one video this offseason especially caught the eye of fans: Berrios pushing a truck across a parking lot in a 30-second clip in mid-January, which generated nearly 60,000 views. It's an unorthodox method to build strength, but Berrios said it's just another one of the ways he gets in shape for the season.

"I do that for power but don't do that a lot," Berrios said with a smile. "It's a short thing but it's harder. I post it because I like it and want to show people what I do during the offseason. I know they like it a lot."

Berrios, 23, is looking to build on a breakout 2017 that saw him post a 3.89 ERA with 139 strikeouts in 145 2/3 innings while winning 14 games with the Twins. He threw 184 1/3 innings between Triple-A and the Majors and has lofty goals for himself this season.

"I want to pitch 200 innings, win more games than last year and make the All-Star team," Berrios said. "If I do all that kind of stuff, I think it'll help the team be better this year. We're going to work hard in Spring Training so we have a good year."

The 6-foot, 185-pounder added that one of the reasons why he does such grueling offseason workouts is to try to stay strong throughout the season. Last year, Berrios posted a 3.53 ERA in 71 1/3 innings in the first half before posting a 4.24 ERA in 74 1/3 innings after the All-Star break.

Berrios would like to finish stronger this year, although he said his arm felt fine even as he pitched into early October last season.

"I felt great," Berrios said. "It was my first time throwing 180 innings but my body felt healthy and I finished strong. In mid-June and mid-July, I could feel it a little bit, but by the end of the season, I felt great and was hitting 95-96 [mph]."

Berrios also got his first taste of the postseason last year, throwing three innings against the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game. Berrios was charged with three runs, including a two-run homer to , in Minnesota's 8-4 loss at Yankee Stadium. It left a bad taste in Berrios' mouth, but he said it's fueling him to get back to the playoffs again this year.

"That's why you play, that's why you work," Berrios said. "You want to be on a competitive team. This year, we have more expectations and motivation to have a good year."

While Berrios has his eye on the postseason in 2018, he's also excited for the Twins playing two games in his native Puerto Rico against the Indians in San Juan from April 17-18. He's hopeful it'll help the island in its recovery from the effects of Hurricane Maria.

"Everybody is excited and ready for that moment, my family and my friends," Berrios said. "It's sold out and it's going to be fun for me. I hope that game opens more doors for things in Puerto Rico."