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 Minnesota Twins twins Players twins Tony Batista; 3rd Base
     
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Leocadio Francisco Batista

Tony Batista; 3rd Base

Name: Leocadio Francisco Batista
Birth date: 12/09/1973
Birthplace: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Height: 6-0
Weight: 210
School:
Draft: undrafted free agent
Nickname: Tony Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Position: 3rd Base
Experience: 9 years
2005 Salary: $5,000,000 (Japan)
Contract Status: signed 1 year 1.25M on 12/16/05
Service Time: 8.733

Minnesota Twins newest 3rd Baseman, Tony Batista was born on December 9, 1973 in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. He grew up with a passion for playing baseball and was discovered by former Major League standout pitcher Juan Marichal. He signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Oakland A's in 1991. He often plays winter ball for the Aguilas in his home country during the major league off-season.

Tony spent 5 years in the minors and then broke into the big leagues on June 3, 1996, with the Oakland Athletics. He played for the A’s until 1998 when he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. One year later he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and played there until he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 2001. Most recently, he was traded to the Montreal Expos in 2004. After playing one year with them, he decided to join the Japan team.

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Tony’s stats in the major leagues are solid. His best season came in 2000, when he hit .263 with 41 homers, 114 RBI’s and 96 runs in 620 at-bats for the Blue Jays. In 2003, he hit .236 with 20 doubles, 26 home runs and 99 RBIs in his final season with Baltimore. He led the club in homeruns despite being below his average of 31 homers per season. In addition to leading in home runs, he ranked 2nd in RBI’s, just one behind team-leader Jay Gibbons (100). He also tied for fourth in the American League in games played with 161.

His 2003 season was filled with memories including a 7th career grand slam on September 24 at Fenway Park. His strong bat made him an intentional walk candidate and with good plate discipline, he was able to pinpoint balls that weren’t in the strike zone. He ended up walking 3 times with the bases loaded and had a 12-game hitting streak. One of his forced walks was the game winning run vs. Boston. He saw an average of 3.83 pitches per plate appearance. He ended up making 20 errors at third base, posting a .950 fielding percentage.

In 2004, Tony hit 32 home runs, one above his average. The 32 homers were a record for an Expos third baseman. He led the Expos in RBIs with 110 and was named National League Player of the Week for Sept. 13-19. He earned the Expos' Player of the Month honor for July by hitting five home runs and driving in 26 runs. Throughout his career he has played second base, short stop, third base and designated hitter.
A two-time major league All-Star, Tony played last season in Japan, batting .263 with 27 homers and 90 RBI’s in 559 at-bats for Fukuoka in the Pacific League. The Twins convinced Tony back to the United States with a 1.25M deal. The deal is not guaranteed and if he's released before opening day, he would get only 30 or 45 days of termination pay -- not the full $1.25 million. His deal with the Twins also includes performance bonuses based on plate appearances.

Tony recently became a free agent after initially signing a $15 million, two-year contract with Fukuoka (Japan) that included a $5 million bonus and annual salaries of $5 million. When he signed last January, Batista said Tampa Bay, Houston and Detroit showed interest in him but none came close to matching Fukuoka's offer.

He should give power-starved Minnesota a reliable hitter in the middle of the lineup. In the field, he's considered to have a good arm with a good glove but not great range. His average amount of home runs would lead the Twins organization and overall he will fill a weak spot in the infield.

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