Slimmer Miranda gets kudos from Correa: 'Looks sexy'

January 29th, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS -- was supposed to play an active role in helping Jose Miranda get in peak physical condition before the younger Puerto Rican reported to Spring Training in February. But they couldn’t meet up at Correa’s house in Houston as planned because, well, Correa had a lot going on this offseason.

So Miranda had to get in better shape by himself. How did he do, Carlos?

“He looks sexy,” Correa said. “You see that body?”

The answer to that question on Saturday at TwinsFest was “no,” because Miranda wore a baggy jersey that draped loosely over his slimmer frame. His new physique is the result of more impactful workouts and a healthier diet in conjunction with a nutritionist, Miranda said, with more chicken and vegetables in smaller portions -- and cutting out the chocolate.

The goal there is twofold.

First, Miranda hopes to add lateral agility to his defensive game as he moves back across the diamond to his natural position at third base after making the majority of his starts at first base as a rookie in 2022. Defense was an issue for the bat-first Miranda, who, in his age-24 season, ranked in the Majors’ 16th percentile in outs above average, per Statcast.

Second, Miranda’s offensive production noticeably dipped down the stretch, with his .856 OPS in June and 1.008 mark in July dropping to a .705 OPS in August and a .715 OPS in September. He attributes part of that to his physical fitness -- and vowed to improve.

“I think definitely, in September I kind of started feeling my body a little bit more -- my arms, swinging-wise,” Miranda said. “I knew that in the offseason, I had to work with that to get better so this year I don't feel the same. So I kind of felt a little bad at the end, and I noticed part of it.”

Correa and the Twins will get to see the fruits of that labor at Spring Training.

Maeda says arm at 100%
The Twins have built more starting pitching depth than at any point in their recent history, but much of that depth will be reliant on improved health from and , who were non-factors in the rotation last season due to injuries.

Maeda, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2021, could have pushed to return in a bullpen role at the end of last season, but he chose not to do so in an effort to focus on returning to the rotation at full strength in ’23. Indeed, Maeda said on Saturday at TwinsFest that his arm feels “100% ready” for Spring Training.

Maeda said he has thrown more often than he would in a normal offseason and expects “no restrictions” during Spring Training. He ramped up to live batting practice by the end of last season, he said, but didn’t feel like his velocity and his in-season shape were fully there. But now, he feels ready to go.

“It certainly doesn't feel like 19 months [away],” Maeda said. “If anything, the time flew by relatively quickly. But you never know. The first pitch that I throw on the big league mound, I might get so nervous I might drill someone. So watch out.”

Kirilloff optimistic about wrist 
Following the Twins’ trade of Luis Arraez to the Marlins, their roster alignment likely will involve a heavier reliance on at first base. But that will require the 25-year-old to put his chronic right wrist issues to rest.

Kirilloff is cautiously hopeful that his most recent surgery -- a season-ending procedure that removed a section of bone in his wrist to create space -- could have done the trick. He started swinging in early January, he said, and has ramped up to 50-60 swings per day, with the hope that he’ll be able to report healthy to Spring Training and ready to head a first-base rotation that could involve and Miranda.

“I hope to have mostly a normal [spring],” Kirilloff said. “We don’t want to rush into anything. We want to make sure everything’s the way it should be going into the season and to play as many healthy games in a season as possible. So if you have to sacrifice a little bit of Spring Training to do that, I think it’s well worth it.”