By Steve Hunt/Special to the Journal
ARLINGTON, Texas – Brian Dozier knew his transition to Major League Baseball wouldn’t be an easy one, even after the former Southern Miss and Itawamba AHS standout was Minnesota’s 2011 Minor League Player of the Year.
But after starting the season in Triple-A, in early May the 25-year-old shortstop received the call every prospect awaits, that he was headed to the big leagues.
The Fulton resident debuted on May 7 against the Angels and went 1 for 4. Following a solid first few weeks, he started struggling, which made him realize making ongoing adjustments was crucial if he was to be a successful big-leaguer.
“I’m not going to say I needed that, but in a way I did because it’s made me really bear down on making adjustments,” Dozier said recently, during the Twins series at the Texas Rangers. “I started taking some mental failures from offense out to defense and it caught up to me. But I’ve made some adjustments and hopefully only good stuff from here on out.”
Those defensive struggles include currently leading American League shortstops in errors with 13. But despite taking his lumps both offensively and defensively, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire likes what he has seen thus far.
“He’s a good hard-working kid, very talented,” Gardenhire said. “Still learning like all young players. He’s a pleasure to have. He can do some things.”
Dozier has already endured several rookie rites of passage, but admits he is looking forward to September, when he and his fellow Twins rookies have to dress up for the entire month to amuse the club’s veterans.
Minnesota made its first trip of 2012 to Texas the weekend of July 7, and with that being the closest big-league team to Mississippi he had 15 friends and family in for the three-game series. And since being called up, many Fulton residents have purchased the MLB satellite package so they can see his games.
“They’re very supportive,” he said.
Dozier returned to Fulton for the All-Star break last Monday. The Twins began the second half Friday against Oakland and Dozier already knew what he wanted to focus on in the season’s final stretch.
“I haven’t been getting on base at the clip I should,” he said. “I steal a lot of bases and I haven’t been doing that just because I haven’t been getting on base, drawing those walks and stuff like that. I think that’s the main focus from here on out.”
Dozier went 2 for 4 on Sunday in a loss to Oakland and is hitting .333 in three games since the break. He hit his fourth homer on Saturday.