Kevin Correia

Kevin Correia continues April magic

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Twins right-hander Kevin Correia shut out the Rangers over eight innings this afternoon, scattering six hits (all singles) and one walk while striking out two. His ERA after five starts rests at 2.23, a stunning statistic for the veteran with a career 4.50 ERA. Correia has gone at least seven innings in all five of his starts and has walked exactly one in all five as well. The Twins, right now, are quite happy they plucked him out of the free agent pool with a two-year, $10 million contract.

For some as yet unexplained reason,  though, Correia has pitched like an ace in April in recent years, but quickly turned back into a pumpkin once the calendar turned to May. Consider his monthly ERA dating back to 2010:

April May June July August Sept/Oct
2010 3.86 5.22 7.83 3.90 7.20 1.91
2011 2.90 4.15 4.46 6.08 8.41
2012 2.42 5.70 4.36 5.04 4.01 3.50
2013 2.23

Is this the year Correia bucks the trend? The Twins have won in four of his five starts and are now a game over .500. With a good Correia, the Twins — currently with two starters with an ERA north of 6.00, and two others north of 4.00 — aren’t as much of an afterthought in the AL Central.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.