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Twins’ Carlos Correa pitches idea to improve umpiring

CLEVELAND — Carlos Correa hopped up and then dropped his bat. A cutter from Emmanuel Clase, which appeared to be below the zone, had just been called strike three rather than ball four, as the shortstop had been anticipating.

Of all the pitches home plate umpire Roberto Ortiz called on Friday, that ninth-inning pitch to Correa ranked second among the most impactful missed calls. The first was a pitch to Willi Castro in the eighth inning that Ortiz rung the utilityman up on.

The Twins had their gripes with two more pitches that Jhoan Duran threw to José Ramírez in the eighth inning — both of which were called balls, putting Duran behind in the count — before the Guardians’ star hit his game-deciding home run.

But after the game, Correa wasn’t complaining about the umpiring — their job, he acknowledged, is incredibly difficult.

“It’s really hard,” he said. “I’ve never been tossed out of a game and maybe there’s a situation that would call for it, but I just think their job is too hard for me to be harsh on them. It is what it is. Sometimes, I get calls. Sometimes, I don’t.”

To make it a bit easier on them and to improve the situation for everyone, Correa had an idea he thought may help the matter.

Why not give home plate umpires a PitchCom device, which pitchers, catchers and certain fielders wear so they know what pitch is coming, he asked?

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

His manager, when presented with the idea, called it an “interesting,” one.

“(I’m) not an umpire and don’t know the mental mechanisms they use to do their jobs. Would that really help them?” manager Rocco Baldelli mused. “It sounds like it would. Is that ultimately true? I don’t know.”

Baldelli did say he was in favor of the Automated Ball-Strike Challenge System, which the league has experimented with at the minor league level but has yet to bring to the majors.

In that system, umpires call balls and strikes but teams have the ability to challenge a certain number of pitches and the correct call will be confirmed by the Hawk-Eye system.

“I have great respect for what (umpires) do. I think their jobs are extraordinarily difficult,” Baldelli said. “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 the ball.”

Buxton back, Martin optioned

The Twins welcomed Byron Buxton back from the injured list on Saturday after he missed much of May, optioning utilityman Austin Martin to Triple-A St. Paul to make room on the roster.

Buxton landed on the IL on May 3 with right knee inflammation after leaving the game two days earlier with knee pain. The Twins plan to have him play in center field a lot but also plan to give him selective days off to keep him fresh.

His return not only gives the Twins’ offense a boost, but it stabilizes things in the outfield, which should be a particular help after this past week.

“Being able to put him in there, really, it pushes other guys to different spots in the field and solidifies those spots, as well, so it’s not just center field,” Baldelli said. “It’s the rest of the diamond.”

Briefly

Chris Paddack will take the ball on Sunday opposed by right-hander Tanner Bibee in the series finale in Cleveland. … Saturday marked the Twins’ television debut for Denard Span, who played for the club between 2008-12. Span has also called some Tampa Bay Rays’ games for Bally Sports Sun.

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