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Milford's Colabello Back in Twins Camp
Chris Colabello has never played baseball for the money. From the time he roamed the little league diamonds at Rosenfeld Park, he's shown a passion for the game to rival just about anyone. He dreamt of playing in the major leagues and last season, that dream became a reality. So it should come as little surprise that money was not enough to pry the Milford High grad from another go-round in the show. He turned down a lucrative offer from a South Korean professional league and is back at Spring Training with the Minnesota Twins.
"It was a tough decision to pass up the offers from Korea and it was an honor to be pursued the way I was by teams over there," he said. "They are almost relentless, and to know someone wants you that badly to help make their team better is pretty cool."
Colabello said he was offered $900,000 for his first year in Korea with a club option at $1.8 million if he was brought back for a second season. The contract offer also included substantial performance-based incentives.
"It took me 29 years to get on a major league roster and that's something I didn't want to give away just to chase some money down," he said. "I have never played this game for the money. It's only money, and I felt like I owed it to myself, the Twins, and my family to come back and give it another shot. I believe in my ability to play the game."
Colabello came into camp competing for a spot on the Twins 25-man roster. He played in 55 games for Minnesota last season and finished with a .194 batting average to go with seven home runs and 17 RBI. He said he spoke with Twins' General Manager Terry Ryan in the off-season and the conversation had a lot to do with his decision not to go overseas.
"He told me I have a chance to make the club coming out of camp," said Colabello. "He said the words before I could even ask him about it. All I can ask for is to be told I have a chance and can earn it based on the way I perform. I have not expected or wanted anything handed to me my whole life."
Colabello says he feels more comfortable in camp and more comfortable facing major league pitching after his experience last year. He's been starting most of the Twins' road games so far and getting consistent at bats. Last Friday, he went 3-for-3 against the Pirates including a game-winning RBI single in the 9th.
Making the team won't be easy. In November, the Twins announced that all-star catcher Joe Mauer would move to first base, Colabello's natural position. He has also played in the outfield and is willing to play wherever he's needed.
"If I was in charge of the Twins, I'd have done the same thing," said Colabello. "[Mauer]is your marquee guy and having him on the field more is an asset for the team. That being said, I wasn't ecstatic about it, but I am going to try to get on the field any way I can. I'll get at bats in the outfield, at DH, wherever. I envision myself as an every day big leaguer and I have no issues moving around the field."
The Twins will break camp and open the regular season in two weeks. They make a visit to Fenway Park to play the Red Sox in June, and Colabello plans on doing everything he can to be there when they make their way out.
"I'm so thankful for the chance the Twins have given me and I'm going to try to make the most of the opportunity," he said. "I'll play where I need to play and do what I need to do to make the team, just as long as I get a chance."




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