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Twins SS Carlos Correa out to spoil former team’s season

Carlos Correa won a World Series ring with the Houston Astros in 2017 and was a mainstay with the club for seven seasons.

Now his focus is set on ending the Astros’ season.

Correa returns to Houston as one of the leaders of the Minnesota Twins, who face the Astros in the best-of-five American League Division Series. Game 1 is Saturday in Houston when Minnesota’s Bailey Ober faces Houston’s Justin Verlander.

“Obviously, great memories here,” Correa said during a press conference on Friday. “Right now I’m trying to build new memories with my team, with the Minnesota Twins. When we take the field, it’s a battle out there. So we’re going to go out there and fight, and may the best team win.”

The shortstop said he has no hard feelings against the Houston organization. He departed as a free agent after the 2021 season.

“I don’t hold on to the past,” Correa said. “I keep moving forward in life. I’m looking at the present moment right now, and the present moment is that I’m a Minnesota Twin. I couldn’t be happier to be with this great organization, and I’m ready to represent them and go out there and win a championship for them.”

Correa received some texts from his former Houston teammates after the Twins ousted the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL wild-card series. His replies were brief and he told each player he would talk to them after the upcoming series.

Correa, a two-time All-Star, played in six ALDS, five AL Championship Series and three World Series with the Astros. Houston defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.

He has 18 homers and 60 RBIs in 81 postseason games, playing his best during the ALDS with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 25 games.

Correa, who batted just .230 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs in the regular season, said he thrives in the postseason spotlight.

“I really enjoy it. Playoff baseball is the best type of baseball,” Correa said. “Last year, not being able to play meaningful games in October, it didn’t feel right. I told my wife, I said, ‘I never want to miss the playoffs ever again,’ and this year we’re back at it. We got one series down, and we’ve got to keep climbing. Obviously this series is special. It’s against my former team, and I’m very excited. We’re ready to go.”

Correa got hit on the right hand by a pitch in Wednesday’s clinching victory over the Blue Jays but said he’s fine. X-rays were negative.

That victory ended a 21-year playoff drought for the Twins, and teammate Royce Lewis points to Correa’s presence as a big factor.

“He’s a superstar of this league,” Lewis said. “But the behind-the-scenes stuff he does for our league team, for the young guys, he’s like an older brother to all of us. Sometimes he could be your dad, too, because he’s pretty firm. He really takes care of us, and he loves us. He does everything for this team. He gives his whole body, mind, effort to this team. It’s like 120 percent of Carlos is in this team, and I think that’s why we’re here right now.”

Of course, Correa can’t think of the Astros without recalling special times with former double-play partner Jose Altuve.

“He’s going to be a Hall of Famer one day,” Correa said of Altuve. “There’s no doubt about that. He’s special. He’s helped this organization get to the two championships that they’ve won, and he’s been a big part of everything that’s been accomplished here in Houston. … He’s definitely one of the best players we’ve ever seen.”

Altuve is looking forward to the matchup.

“I think it’s going to be fun,” Altuve said on Friday. “Obviously he’s a good player. He has a lot of experience in playoff games. We are aware of that. So we’ve got to be careful the way we pitch him and all that stuff. We’ve just got to go out there and beat him even though we like him a lot.”

–Field Level Media

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