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Tommy Watkins

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Tommy Watkins

For the football player, see Tommy Watkins (American football).
Tommy Watkins
200px
Third baseman
Born: (1980-06-18) June 18, 1980 (age 34)
Fort Myers, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 10, 2007 for the Minnesota Twins
Last MLB appearance
August 22, 2007 for the Minnesota Twins
Career statistics
Games 9
Batting average .357
Runs scored 2
Teams

Thomas Gray Watkins, Jr. (born June 18, 1980) is a Minor League coach in the Minnesota Twins organization who appeared briefly with the Twins as a player toward the end of the 2007 season.[1]

Hometown favorite

Watkins was drafted by the Twins in the 38th round of the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft from Riverdale High School in Fort Myers, Florida, and was a fan favorite during his two-year stint with the Twins' high A affiliate, the Fort Myers Miracle (20022003). Watkins' popularity with Miracle fans translated into one of the more interesting promotions in minor league history when he was the subject of the "Tommy Watkins Bobble-Butt" late in the 2003 season.[2]

It was while with the Miracle that Watkins became more of a utility player. In 2002, he made 41 appearances at shortstop, 33 at third base, 19 at second base and three in the outfield. In 2003, he made his debut as a first baseman (8 times), and played all three outfield positions (38 total appearances), as well as making 28 appearances at third, 17 at shortstop, and nine at second.

MLB debut

Watkins hit eight home runs his second season with the triple-A Rochester Red Wings to match his minor-league career high of eight home runs in 2004 with the New Britain Rock Cats (Double-A). Also in 2007, he reached a career high in batting average (.272), doubles (22) and RBIs (49).

The Twins promoted Watkins on August 8, 2007, from Triple-A Rochester. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan announced his call-up while visiting the Red Wings; the news was very well received by his teammates. Watkins spent ten years in the minors, all with the Twins, before making his major league debut.[3]

Red Wings Manager Stan Cliburn stated that Watkins' promotion to the big leagues "was one of the most emotional call-ups [he had] ever been involved with." The announcement "set off a joyous celebration in the clubhouse, because of everyone's love, passion and respect for Tommy."

Watkins was the 14th player from the Red Wings to be promoted to the Minnesota Twins in 2007. He was with the Red Wings in Syracuse, New York and joined the Twins in Kansas City. Watkins made his major league debut on August 10, 2007. He recorded his first major league hit August 15, 2007, while playing the Seattle Mariners. He is the first player in Twins history to wear #61.

According to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, "He has a good smile in his face and comes to play every day. You can play anywhere you put him, outfield, infield, so it will be fine to have him up there."[4] Watkins played nine games, with his major league debut being as pinch-hitter, August 10 against the Los Angeles Angels. He started the remaining eight games he appeared in, all at third base (he shifted to shortstop for the last two innings of one game). His first hit was a single off Jarrod Washburn on August 15 at Seattle. He had ten hits in 28 at-bats, all of them singles. He scored two runs—scoring his first on a Torii Hunter grand slam. His major league journey ended on August 22 when he suffered a lower abdominal muscle strain.[5]

Coaching

Watkins spent all of 2008 with Rochester, where he batted .219 with one home run and 18 RBIs in 76 games. He became a free agent at the end of the season, and in January 2009, he re-signed with the Twins. Watkins was batting .254 at Rochester when he accepted a coaching job in the Twins' organization. He helped coach the Gulf Coast League Twins, managed by Jake Mauer, and Class A Fort Myers during home games for the remainder of the season,[6] and in 2010, accepted a position as Batting Coach with the Midwest League's Beloit Snappers.[7]

References

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
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