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Tom Mix, Published June 18 2012

Youths receive Hall of Fame advice from Rod Carew

FARGO – Anthony Hoyt normally gets his baseball tips from his dad and his Cal Ripken league coach.

On Monday, Hoyt – a 12-year-old from Williston, N.D. – got the unique opportunity to pick the brain of Hall of Famer Rod Carew and get a few hitting pointers from the seven-time batting champion.

Hoyt and 72 other youth baseball players from the region participated in the Minnesota Twins Youth Training Camp at Jack Williams Stadium.

Carew, along with six other instructors, conducted the day-long camp that helps players develop hitting, defensive, throwing, base running and pitching skills.

The camp was divided into six stations and the area where Hoyt saw marked improvement was with his hitting. Hoyt received one-on-one, detailed instruction from Carew, who retired with a .328 career batting average.

“He told me to move my back foot and twist it to get more power in my legs,” said Hoyt, who plays for the Williston All-Stars. “After he told me to do that I was hitting a little bit better.”

Carew patrolled the batting cages observing the technique of the young hitters. He said young players today are too hung up on hitting for power.

“Balance is the key,” said Carew who posted 3,053 career hits. “A lot of the kids are not concentrating on maintaining good balance when they hit. The other thing I see that really disturbs me is that a lot of them are trying to swing up and hit the ball in the air and hit home runs.

“What I try to tell them is we want to teach you to hit first. This is a learning stage. Right now we want them just to make good solid contact.”

Carew is a special instructor with the Twins and enjoys the youth camps as a part of his wide-range of duties.

“I would rather do this than do it at the major league level,” Carew quipped. “Kids are going to pay attention to you and they are going to listen to you. That’s why I enjoy coming and doing these kind of things.”

Jack Duval, a 10-year old from Fargo, has been attending the camp the last three years and said it has helped him with his bunting, base running and sliding skills.

“It’s fun to be around people that you don’t know very much and get to know them,” Duval said. “Even when they are good at something that you like it’s good to be around them.”

Absorbing knowledge is what the camp stresses and Carew has noticed some positive results.

“I have seen a lot of the kids show a great amount of improvement,” Carew said. “To me, that is what it is all about. Coming back every year and see if they are doing the things that you taught them.

“We are here to hopefully teach them something that is going to help them somewhere down the line when they are playing.”

Carew weighs in on the Minnesota Twins woes

As of Monday, the Minnesota Twins were 26-39 and in last place in the American League Central.

The Twins, who are 8½ games back from the first-place Chicago White Sox, have struggled in several areas, but Carew said the one thing the team needs more than anything is consistency.

“Getting hitting and pitching working together,” said Carew who played for Minnesota from 1967 to 1978. “You can’t have guys pitching well and not getting any offense and vice versa. So if they can put it together, I think they’ll be OK.

“They still have a lot of season to go. There has been some inconsistency, but I think they’ll be OK the rest of the season.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562