Advertisement

Twins’ Farmer is very ready for 3-for-45 batting slump to end

A year ago, Kyle Farmer was eating his meals through a straw while his teeth, rearranged by a Lucas Giolito pitch, healed. So make no mistake, Farmer knows there are worse ways to start a season than going 3-for-45 at the plate.

Still, people are worried about him.

"I'm getting a lot of texts, people asking me if I'm OK, if I'm depressed," Farmer said. "My grandmother, she texts me after every game — she's sending me Bible verses right now."

Former Reds teammate Joey Votto texted him "to remind me that it's still early. I hate saying that, but it's true," Farmer said. "He said, 'Just keep going.' I've got a lot of support, a lot of people pulling for me."

Manager Rocco Baldelli stopped by his locker after Wednesday's particularly painful 0-fer — three strikeouts and a double play — to cheer him up, and they met in his office Thursday.

Some of the feedback comes with advice, from the technical to the absurd — though desperation, and superstition, forces him to consider just about anything.

"I've showered in my uniform. I've worn my sliders [protective underwear] inside-out. I've changed socks every day. I've prayed to Jesus, prayed to the baseball gods, and they still haven't answered me yet," Farmer said. "If you tell me to wear my jock strap upside-down on my nose, I might do it."

He's been through worse. Farmer endured an 0-for-34 skid with Cincinnati in 2022, one that ended after he followed his grandmother's suggestion and called Hall of Famer Barry Larkin for advice. The next day, he broke the skid with a home run, "and as I ran the bases, I pointed up to him," Farmer said, "so that was cool."

The veteran would like a similar closure to this slump, so he can stop seeing .067 next to his name on the scoreboard. He spiked his helmet to the ground after one strikeout Wednesday, but is conscious of not letting on how difficult this is to go through.

"I was always taught to be the same person no matter what," especially in front of younger teammates, Farmer said. "Like, I get mad at Eddy [Julien] when he gets mad at himself. Dude, you've got more home runs than I have hits! You've got to stay positive."

The veteran is not panicking, he said, because he understands what a role luck plays in baseball. He watched Ryan Jeffers double on a 250-foot popup down the line Tuesday, and Max Kepler drive in a run Wednesday with a popup that fell between three fielders in center field, and Christian Vázquez collect a single on a line drive that kicked out of the webbing of Chicago second baseman Nicky Lopez's glove.

"Then you see Cedric Mullins make the play of the century on me" in Baltimore, a spectacular diving catch in deep left-center, Farmer said. "He's going to win an ESPY for it! So it gives me hope. It's baseball. I just have to stick to my approach, simplify everything, and try not to think about it."

Etc.

• Kepler recorded the second-hardest hitout in the major leagues this year in the first inning, a two-out line drive to second with an exit velocity of 115.4 mph "that was like a blur," Baldelli said. Lopez's diving catch left two runners stranded.

• Shortstop Carlos Correa, out because of an intercostal strain, is accompanying the Twins on their road trip in anticipation of his being activated within a few days.

Justin Topa, who missed spring training because of knee tendinitis, struck out three in the seventh inning as he began a rehab assignment at St. Paul, which beat Rochester 3-0 on a seven-hitter at CHS Field. Fellow righthander Jhoan Duran will make his second rehab appearance for the Saints on Friday.