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Correa raises interesting idea to aid home plate umpires

CLEVELAND – Carlos Correa insists he doesn't blame home plate umpires for missing some ball and strike calls, particularly with how much velocity and movement are featured on pitches these days.

An idea to help, Correa says, could be equipping the plate umpire with a PitchCom transmitter. Almost all pitchers and catchers use them to call a specific pitch and location, instead of hand signals, and some fielders like Correa use a PitchCom transmitter to aid their defensive positioning.

"I feel like pitchers are too nasty right now for umpires to see," Correa said. "I feel like if umpires knew what was coming and they had a PitchCom, that would make calls so much better."

With the emphasis on catchers trying to frame pitches in the strike zone, theoretically giving umpires a PitchCom transmitter could help them prepare to see pitches in certain areas.

"If they had a device where it said slider and they're anticipating the slider and they know where it has to start and land for it to be a strike, then we would get so many better calls," Correa said. "The fact that they're over there blind, it's really hard."

Major League Baseball is expected to unveil an automated ball-strikes system within the next few seasons. It's already being experimented in all Class AAA games, plus nine ballparks in the Class A Florida State League, drawing mixed reviews from players on how the system defines the strike zone.

"I'm going to be strongly in favor of it," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of an automated strike zone. "I'm sure there are going to be a lot of umpires who are going to be upset by hearing that. I have great respect for what they do. I think their jobs are extraordinarily difficult. I think it's just too hard to do, and I don't think anyone should have that weight on their shoulders to be deciding a game when you can barely see the ball with the way these guys are throwing."

Buck is back

The Twins activated Byron Buxton from the 10-day injured list Saturday after he missed 14 games with right knee inflammation, and the important thing to him was seeing his name back in center field on the lineup card.

"Not to keep harping on DHing, but that's, like, written in my head," said Buxton, who was used exclusively as a designated hitter last year. "That's something I don't want to do. Mentally, that was a toll. Anything for me to stay away from that. I know I'm going to have to do it at some points, but to be able to know that you're freely going out to center — that gives your mind some peace."

Buxton hasn't played in more than 92 games in a season since 2017, and he acknowledges his knee pain is something he must manage compared to playing completely pain-free.

"It's back to the point where I feel like I can go again," he said. "Just trial and error. We don't know when or if that'll happen again. It's just one of those things where you've got to put it on the back burner and just keep trusting what we're doing and just go play."

Baldelli says the Twins will give Buxton "selective days off," but there are no plans to change his usage in center field.

"I don't want to have to do anything differently than what I was doing," said Buxton, who started 20 of the Twins' first 30 games in center. "I know that with what I was doing, this happened, but I went through spring training, then I went through the month I did before this happened. Just trying to figure out better ways to manage it."

Correa violates shift rule

During the sixth inning Friday, Correa fielded a ground ball from José Ramírez on the right side of the infield and recorded the out at first base. At least that was the initial call.

The Cleveland Guardians challenged whether Correa was lined up illegally with one of his feet behind the second-base bag. Per Rule 5.02(c), infielders must have both feet "entirely on each side of second base."

After a lengthy replay review, Correa was in an illegal position, and the play was wiped out as an automatic ball. Correa thought the dividing line was the middle of the second-base bag, but an umpire specified during the replay review the dividing line is the corner of the base.

"Now, I'll make sure that I don't get that far, and I'll get on the right spot for it not to be called again," Correa said. "Today, I learned something new. Baseball's beautiful."

When a player is illegally shifted, the hitting team can keep the play on the field or turn it into an automatic ball. Ramírez eventually struck out in his at-bat. There have been only five shift rule violations since MLB banned shifts before last season, and Friday was the first time it was called this year.

Etc.

• The Twins optioned Austin Martin to Class AAA to make room for Buxton on the 26-man roster. Martin received 15 plate appearances since May 3.

• Former Twins outfielder Denard Span, added as a rotating TV analyst for Bally Sports North this season, arrived in Cleveland to call his first Twins game Saturday alongside play-by-play voice Cory Provus and analyst Roy Smalley.

• After Friday's game was suspended by rain, the St. Paul Saints split a doubleheader with Omaha on Saturday. The Saints won 4-2 in the resumed game after Michael Helman hit a go-ahead, two-run homer, and they lost 4-2 in the seven-inning nightcap. Helman hit a homer and a double in the second game.