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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Former Pride player gets called up by Twins

Six years ago this time, Chris Colabello was a couple of months away from being traded by the Worcester Tornadoes to the Nashua Pride.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was the starting right fielder for the Minnesota Twins in an interleague game in Atlanta against the Braves. ...

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Six years ago this time, Chris Colabello was a couple of months away from being traded by the Worcester Tornadoes to the Nashua Pride.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was the starting right fielder for the Minnesota Twins in an interleague game in Atlanta against the Braves.

Colabello, who helped lead the Pride to the Can-Am League title in 2007, was called up by the Twins after flourishing at Triple A Rochester. Besides his performance, the Twins reportedly needed help due to the post-concussion woes plaguing outfielder Trevor Plouffe.

Plouffe was reportedly placed on MLB’s new seven-day concussion disabled list after being kneed in the head by Braves second baseman Dan Uggla on Tuesday night. To make room for Colabello on the 40-man roster, the Twins moved Darin Mastroianni (ankle surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.

“He’s never stopped chasing the dream,” former Pride general manager and current commissioner of the Futures Collegiate League, Chris Hall, said. “He deserves every second of (his major league time). Hopefully it’s for more than a cup of coffee. … You get goose bumps when you hear this type of story.”

His major league debut probably wasn’t exactly as he had hoped, as he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and stranded four runners in an 8-3 loss. He hit the first pitch he saw Wednesday on the nose but it was a line drive out to right. But at age 29, getting there was more than half the battle.

The six-foot-4, 218-pound Colabello, after an independent league career mainly with the Worcester Tornadoes, signed with the Twins a couple of years ago and hit .284 with 19 homers and 98 RBIs in Double A New Britain (Conn.) last year and was one of the Eastern League’s top players.

He was rewarded with a spring training stint with the Twins, where he played well, and was also one of Team Italy’s top players in the World Baseball Classic. But he was Triple A bound to start the season.

However, his play in Rochester made it hard for the Twins to overlook him if there was an opening. He was hitting .358 with 12 homers and 39 RBIs in 48 games.

“It’s been persistence, I guess,” Colabello said back in March when asked what has kept him going at age 29, when most would have given up by now. “As I was playing indy ball I was wondering every year if it was going to happen.

“The dream (of playing in the Major Leagues) never goes away.”

Colabello hit .318 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in his half season in 2007 in Nashua. Overall in seven Indy seasons he hit .317 with 86 homers, and was Baseball American’s Independent League Player of the Year in 2011.