It's no secret that Carlos Correa's 2023 season didn't go the way he, or anyone else in the Twins organization, wanted it to.
The 29-year-old shortstop battled plantar fasciitis for much of last season before suffering a full tear in his left foot in mid-September. Correa doesn't attribute his career-low .230 batting average to his injury, but it certainly didn't make things easier.
More than four months later, Correa not only feels back to normal, he might be better than before. He says he has altered his swing to be simpler, more effective and more efficient, and added that he's "very happy" with his progress.
"You know me, I'm not going to blame my offensive struggles on that," Correa said Saturday during the team's TwinsFest celebration, referring to his injury. "It was more than that. But this year, I'm going to show up healthy, ready to go. My swing feels great. I want to have a big year. That's what I'm preparing for."
After the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets retreated from free-agent deals with Correa because of an old ankle injury, Correa re-signed with the Twins a year ago. He didn't work out or practice hitting for a month, saying he was trying to "save" himself from suffering another injury. But in the process, Correa said he didn't get the work he needed ahead of the season. That carried into live play, where the shortstop acknowledged he was never able to get into a consistent groove, although he had a strong postseason.
"Mentally, it works different, too, because when you feel prepared, the confidence comes within," Correa said. "Last year coming into spring training, I didn't feel like I was prepared. I felt like I hadn't done my work like I always do in the offseason to get ready for 162 [games]. This year, I do feel ready."
This offseason has been different. Correa began hitting in practice in November, earlier than he has in years. He's now up to six days per week of hitting off a machine, and he intends to face live pitching soon.
Roughly a month ago, he says his foot rehabilitation finally turned the curve in terms of feeling better. Since then, Correa has added in sprints and running, putting him in a good spot ahead of pitchers and catchers reporting Feb. 14 in Fort Myers, Fla.
"It's been a really good offseason in terms of the work I've put in," Correa said. "When I started this offseason, I found a spot where I feel comfortable, where I feel I can drive the ball and be consistent and be repeatable with my mechanics. You guys will see. It's really good."