A season ago, Jeffers batted .273 and had a .791 OPS in 26 games while sharing playing time with Garver. But during Garver’s absence, Jeffers hit .156 in 21 games he played while the veteran was sidelined with low back tightness.
Despite the struggles at the plate for the 24-year-old rookie, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said he liked the growth he saw from the young catcher.
“[Jeffers is] experiencing a lot this season, especially offensively,” Baldelli said on Sept. 14. “He’s continued to work behind the plate. We know that’s a huge priority as a young catcher no matter what’s going offensively -- not letting your at-bats, whether that be in a positive way, negative way, don’t let it affect you, just go and do your job behind the plate. He’s done that.”
Although Tuesday’s activation brings back Garver, who batted .273 and had a .960 OPS in his last 20 games before injury, Baldelli said Jeffers will split playing time with Garver as the season winds down.
“It's really nice to get [Garver] back,” Baldelli said on Tuesday. “We're going to rotate him a little bit with Ryan at this point while we kind of ease him back in. They'll probably play every other game for a while.”
Through his struggles in 2021, Jeffers said he has continued to grow and adapt to playing at the big league level. Much of which, he said, comes through his curiosity to always learn more.
“I’ve got a hunger for growth and learning,” Jeffers said on Sept. 14. “You can probably ask around the clubhouse and some people would probably say I ask too many questions. But it's part of who I am. I’m always learning. I don’t like going into situations and not knowing or not understanding. I like to be informed, I like to learn, I like to grow. And that’s something I’ve always done. Whether it’s hitting, whether it’s defensive, whether it’s stuff completely unrelated.”
Maggi sent down before making MLB debut
Before he was able to make his long-awaited Major League debut, Drew Maggi was optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday after being with the Twins for two games after he was called up on Saturday.
Maggi had spent 11 seasons in the Minors with time in the Pirates, Angels, Dodgers and Cleveland farm systems before signing a Minor League contract with the Twins in December 2019.
Baldelli said Maggi handled the decision “great” after getting a chance to speak with him on Monday.
“There's nothing more than I would have liked than to get him in there,” Baldelli said. “There's no way to know how long a guy is going to be on the active roster once you call them up. … Obviously, he's worked incredibly hard to get to this point, I don't think he's going to stop on his quest to get back to the big leagues now.
“I'll bet on him getting back here and getting out on the field and doing something. I know he's going to be the most disappointed in that, but he didn't show it in a big way. I was disappointed too, but in those two particular games, he almost made it in there to do a couple of different things for us. But they didn't play out in that direction.”