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Updated: May 3rd, 2010 11:48pm
Pelissero: Wilson Ramos not wasting time making name with 'los Mellizos'

Pelissero: Wilson Ramos not wasting time making name with 'los Mellizos'

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by Tom Pelissero
MINNEAPOLIS -- Wilson Ramos might have a shot to challenge Hugo Chavez in an election right now, but he still isn't assured a permanent spot with the Minnesota Twins.

Or shall we call them los Mellizos de Minnesota?

That'll be the phrase splashed across sports pages in Ramos' home country Tuesday morning -- just as they were on Monday -- chronicling the catching prospect's explosive arrival in las Grandes Ligas.

"Everybody in Venezuela right now is talking about me," Ramos said shortly after going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI in Tuesday's 10-4 rout of Detroit.

"TV, on the radio -- everybody's talking about me right now. I received a lot of phone calls this morning and last night. It's unbelievable."

So are Ramos' numbers through two big-league games: nine at-bats, seven hits and three doubles, including a 4-for-5 effort in his debut Sunday at Cleveland.

To put that into perspective, eight other players -- and only two since 1939 -- have had three hits or more in their first two major-league games. Many of the names on the list are forgettable, but Joe DiMaggio and Enos Slaughter are Hall of Famers.

All of this barely a month after the Twins sent Ramos to Class-AAA Rochester, where he was trying too hard to pull the ball and hitting only .179 with 15 strikeouts in 67 at-bats before he got the call on Saturday.

"Right now, I don't have any pressure," Ramos said. "I'm going out on the field to have fun."

If it were up to manager Ron Gardenhire, the Twins would have kept Ramos around after he hit .400 in spring training.

The organization wanted the 23-year-old to play every day, though, and that wasn't an option with a Twins team that employs MVP Joe Mauer -- until Mauer sustained a bruised left heel that has him sidelined indefinitely.

In two games with Ramos in Mauer's place, the Twins offense has racked up 32 hits and 18 runs, matching its highest output in two days all season.

Ramos means "branches" in Spanish, and he's swinging a big stick right now. Surely, he can't go a full season slugging 1.111 or batting .778, but ...

"How do you know?" Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You can't say that. It's the one thing you can't say. He's swinging really good right now. So, he's hitting seven-seventy-whatever you want to say, but let's just leave him alone and let's just hope he does it."

And if he does?

Well, he won't. Certainly not to that level, and Ramos' track record suggests he's probably a .280 hitter, maybe .300 in a good year.

"I think we all know reality eventually might set in sometime," Gardenhire said, "but I hope it doesn't this time around."

Which also suggests Gardenhire is girding for another fight to retain Ramos whenever Mauer's bad wheel starts feeling good again.

Ramos made clear he's fighting, too.

"I want to stay here," he said. "I know I can help the team a lot."

And back home -- where the crowds are smaller, but also far more rabid than the 38,728 who watched Ramos' Target Field debut -- there is plenty of hope the 250th Venezuelan player to reach the majors can do enough to force los Mellizos to keep him there.

"Venezuela has a lot of fans, and crazy fans," Ramos said. "Crazy fans -- when you have a pretty good game, everybody love you, but if you have a bad game, everybody say bad words.

"Right now, every fans like me. So, I'm really trying for that."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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