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 Minnesota Twins > Players > 48 Torii Hunter, Center Field
     
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Torii Kedar Hunter

48 Torii Hunter, Center Field

Name: Torii Kedar Hunter
Birth date: 07/18/1975
Birthplace: Pine Bluff, AR
Height: 6-2
Weight: 220
School: Pine Bluff High School
Draft: 1993 1st round (Twins)
Nickname: “Spider-Man” Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Position: Center Field
Experience: 9 years
2005 Salary: 8,000,000
Contract Status: 4-Year worth 32M- + deal includes 2007 option worth 12M or a 2M buyout
Service Time: 5.135

Minnesota Twins Centerfielder, Torii Hunter was born July 18, 1975 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Torii is a well-rounded athlete and played baseball, basketball, football and track at Pine Bluff High School. He was drafted by the Twins as a first-round pick in 1993 straight out of high school. He made his first major league debut on August 22, 1992 as a pinch hitter. It was not until 1999 when he began starting regularly, playing in 135 games for the Twins.

Known and well respected as perhaps the best defensive player in the major leagues today, Torii has demonstrated outstanding athletic ability, having “robbed” many big hitters of home runs. ESPN coined Hunter as a "daily web gem," referring to ESPN's nightly highlight reel.

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As a key hitter for the team, Torii seems to hit better when he concentrates on pulling the ball and hitting for power. He hits most of his home runs off breaking pitches that hang or find the middle of the plate. Torii still gets himself out too often by swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.

Torii is a good base-runner who has learned to get great jumps on steal attempts. The Twins' new, softer turf has been easier on his knees, allowing him to run more. He gets rid of the ball quickly with a strong and exceptionally accurate arm.

In 2001, he led the club in at bats, home runs and outfield assists (with 14 - tied for second best in the league) and was second in RBIs and total bases, leading the Twins to their first winning season since 1992. Torii was named Best Defensive Outfielder in the American League and won his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

In 2002, Torii was selected by the fans to his first All-Star Game, becoming the first Twin since Kirby Puckett in 1995 to start in a game, in center field. One of the biggest moments came in the first inning, when, with two outs, Barry Bonds sent what appeared to be a towering home run to right-center field when Hunter, who had built a reputation for his outfield thievery in the American League, showed off his talents - jumped and caught the ball in a stunning spectacle. The memorable catch was later awarded as the Best Defensive Play of the Year by the fans.

Also in 2002, Torii led the club in home runs, RBIs, and stolen bases, and was tied for the lead in games and doubles. Hunter won the team's Calvin R. Griffith Award as Most Valuable Twin. He ended up a respectable sixth in the MVP voting, and also earned his second Gold Glove in center field.

In August 2005, it was announced Torii would miss the remainder of the 2005 season after breaking his ankle and tearing ligaments when he attempted to scale the wall in Fenway Park.

If he can stay healthy, the future for Torii Hunter is indeed very bright. Torii is only beginning to enter his prime, and can only improve as a player. He is still known as the best defensive outfielder, if not the best outfielder alone in the league. After signing a 4-year, $32 million contract, rest assured good things are yet to come.

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