ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Gilberto Celestino understands his benching; Twins hope to use it as learning opportunity

Celestino said he understood manager Rocco Baldelli’s decision to remove him and that he believed Baldelli has good intentions to help him become a better player and person.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins center fielder Gilberto Celestino is congratulated after scoring against the Kansas City Royals on Sept. 13, 2022, at Target Field.
Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports
We are part of The Trust Project.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Over the course of his four seasons as manager of the Minnesota Twins, Rocco Baldelli has been quick to defend his players and not call them out publicly for mental lapses, gaffes and the like, preferring to handle those matters internally.

So when Baldelli removed Gilberto Celestino early from Tuesday’s game, it seemed clear the manager was hoping to send a message to the 23-year-old outfielder.

Message received.

“I learned a lot of things about myself for putting (in) better work and effort into the game, (respecting) my teammates and respecting the game,” Celestino said.

In the second inning, Celestino had broken toward home when Luis Arraez lifted a fly ball to left. By the time he got back to third base, he was unable to tag up and score. Though he eventually scored on a Carlos Correa single, it was one of many recent baserunning mistakes by Celestino. Two innings later, after a pitch that he believed was ball four was called a strike, Celestino grounded out and then made an exceptionally slow walk back toward the dugout.

ADVERTISEMENT

Baldelli removed him after that, replacing him in center field with Mark Contreras.

“He’s had a few mental errors in the games recently and we wanted to make those adjustments,” Baldelli said. “There was another one last night. Can’t say I was pleased with that, but sometimes those are part of young players especially learning and trial and error and figuring things out and making it work, but I think more the distraction of the last at-bat that he had was really kind of what made the point that it was the time to do it and the right thing to do.”

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles
Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli watches his team warm up before the start of the game against the Baltimore Orioles during spring training March 21, 2022, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.
Jonathan Dyer / USA Today Sports

Celestino said he understood Baldelli’s decision to remove him and that he believed Baldelli has good intentions to help him become a better player and person.

“I understood our conversation,” Celestino said. “He’s trying to allow me to grow in the game. Bad plays are going to happen. Sometimes I’m going to make errors and bad decisions, but I shouldn’t be showing that raw emotion. Control that so I can respect my teammates and the game overall.”

Celestino addressed his teammates pregame — he said he particularly felt bad for Arraez, who is competing for a batting title and was charged with an out for what could have been a sacrifice fly — and was back in the lineup Wednesday.

MORE MINNESOTA TWINS COVERAGE:
Pro
Correa remains top priority for Minnesota's offseason.
Pro
3 events will be part of the team’s 1st in-person fan event in 3 years
Pro
Joe is the son of Bob Pohlad and grandson of Carl, who bought the team in 1984.
Pro
Farmer, 32, played 145 games with Cincinnati last season, and drove in 78 runs for the Reds
Pro
Byron Buxton missed the Twins’ final 42 games while on the IL but called 2022 ‘something to build on’
Pro
New logo is a white sans serif ‘M’ with a red diamond-shaped star on top
Pro
Garlick, 27, was placed on the 10-injured list three times last season for hamstring, rib cage and wrist injuries and played in only 66 games.
Pro
Arraez hit .316 in 144 games, edging Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (.311) for the AL batting title.
Pro
The Twins’ payroll last year was in the $140 million to $150 million range last season, the most in franchise history.
Pro
Correa hit .291 with a 140 OPS+, was a Gold Glove finalist and led the team in Wins Above Replacement.

“I do believe that this is an opportunity to kind of move past this period of time, this challenging period of time for him and get into a better place mentally to go play good baseball. This might actually free him up a little bit to kind of face some of these challenges head on, acknowledge that what he did out there was wrong, and some of that’s execution on the mental side of the game, but ultimately you want to just be there for your teammates and you don’t want to be a distraction to anything going on, and I think he’s going to note that.”

Sho time at Target Field

It’s Sho Time at Target Field.

For the first time, the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way sensation is set to pitch at Target Field, scheduled to start against the Twins on Friday night. Ohtani has pitched against the Twins just once in his career — that came in 2018 in Anaheim — giving up a run in 6⅓ innings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Though he’s never pitched there, Ohtani has had plenty of success at Target Field. In six games against the Twins, he’s hit .417 with a 1.232 OPS and a pair of home runs.

Ohtani, last year’s unanimous American League MVP, has put together another MVP-worthy season this year. On the mound, he has a 2.43 earned-run average in 25 starts, striking out a league-leading 11.9 batters per nine innings, and at the plate, he had hit 34 home runs with a .891 OPS entering Wednesday.

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA TWINS
What to read next
Pro
Football great's father, Archie, played for Vikings in early '80s.
Pro
The Vikings are 9-0 in games decided by eight points or less, an NFL record for the most consecutive wins in one-score games to start a season.
Pro
He stood before reporters at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon with a Filipino flag proudly draped over his shoulders.
Pro
They have tough games this week against the Flames in Calgary, Oilers in Edmonton, and Canucks in Vancouver.