Carlos Correa says that Twins hitting coach David Popkins doesn’t believe that Correa is already hitting six times a week -- so he sends videos every day as proof.
“He’s like, ‘Bro, no way you’re hitting six times a week,’” Correa said with a laugh.
In return, Popkins sends through videos of Correa’s teammates -- Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff -- who are already working similarly hard to build up from injuries.
“I like to be informed,” Correa said.
Though TwinsFest took place in late January, Correa said at that point that he already felt built up for Spring Training and that, most importantly, the foot that bothered him throughout 2023 was feeling much better. For the first time in three offseasons, Correa finally had the chance to work out and build up without worrying about a contract negotiation -- and he took advantage, knowing the importance of a bounceback season in ‘24.
“You know me,” Correa said. “I’m not going to blame my offensive struggles on [plantar fasciitis]. It was more than that. But this year, I’m going to show up healthy, ready to go. My swing feels great. I want to have a big year. That’s what I’m preparing for.”
Correa isn’t an excuse-maker, so he won’t say it outright, but it was obviously the plantar fasciitis in his left heel that contributed significantly to his paltry .230/.312/.399 slash line, with 18 homers and a below-average 94 OPS+ last season, struggling to find swing mechanics that would work for him through the pain.
Though the foot took longer than he expected to fully heal (without a surgical procedure), Correa said he felt good by late December, when he started running and sprinting. He’d already been hitting since November, marking his first time in “a while” that he started so early, he said.
Popkins will come down to Correa’s home in Houston a few times, the shortstop said, and teammates like Nick Gordon and Miranda will also be there, as Correa eagerly anticipates debuting a simpler, more efficient swing in 2024 that he hopes will reset the mechanical struggles of ‘23 and help him rebound from the worst full-season numbers of his career.
It’s been a largely quiet offseason for the Twins, but the hope is that the brunt of their improvement could come from within -- from healthy, closer-to-full seasons from Correa, Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis. Buxton and Correa, the centerpieces of the roster, performed at well below their expectations throughout 2023, while Lewis was limited to only 58 games due to his injuries.
Correa is ready to turn that narrative around -- and he’s been working hard to make that happen.
“I found a spot where I feel comfortable, where I feel I can drive the ball and be consistent and be repeatable with my mechanics,” Correa said. “You guys will see.”