Twins outfield prospect Ryan LaMarre tries to keep it simple in a complex game

Published 8:30 pm Thursday, March 8, 2018

By Phil Miller

Star Tribune

FORT MYERS, Fla. —They’re always right there, in the same spots, like Supreme Court justices taking their assigned seats. Take a look at the Twins’ dugout during a spring game, from first pitch to last, and you’ll see Paul Molitor next to the stairs, on the side nearest the plate. Pitching coach Garvin Alston is beside him on the right, and coaches Jeff Pickler and Derek Shelton are on the other side of the stairs, within earshot.

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And between them? If he’s not on the field, Ryan LaMarre is usually standing there, too.

“He loves to talk the game. I have to push him away once in awhile in the dugout,” Molitor said with a laugh about the journeyman outfielder. “He’s always got something.”

It’s a habit he can’t control, LaMarre said, bred into him from the first time he swung a bat.

“Noticing little stuff with pitchers has helped me at times. Certain guys tip pitches, certain guys always go to certain pitches on certain counts,” LaMarre said. “Honestly, I don’t even think about it anymore. I just find myself noticing things, little tidbits.”

Molitor knows the breed. It’s the sort of hyper-attentiveness, the brand of curiosity, that helped a certain St. Paul infielder find enough small advantages to fuel a brilliant Hall of Fame career, and eventually become the Twins’ manager. But that kind of analytical mind can be a hindrance on the field, too — or so LaMarre has found.

“I can overthink things, big time,” he said. “When it came to my swing, I’d try anything. I was always questioning stuff, trying to pick people’s brains.”

He’d join a new team — the Twins are the fifth organization for the 29-year-old Michigan native — and immediately focus on his most successful teammate.

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