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When Max Kepler was the Twins' primary leadoff batter in 2019, he tried to take things he learned from watching Brian Dozier.

Clearly, he picked up something. Kepler entered Tuesday with 80 career homers at Target Field, tied with Dozier for the most in the ballpark's history.

"He kept everything real simple," said Kepler, who was teammates with Dozier for his first three big-league seasons. "He loved pulling the ball and ambushing the pitcher. When I got to lead off in 2019, I took a little bit from what he did when he led off, because he would always be in attack mode. Just put the barrel on the ball. That one year he hit 42 (2016) was really impressive. … He was so short to the ball, he created a lot of power. Loved to pull it by that pole."

What would it mean to Kepler, who played in his 1,000th career game Saturday, to pass Dozier for the Target Field home run record?

"That would be sweet," Kepler said. "I'd be proud to hold the record."

Kepler and Eddie Rosario (68) are the only lefthanded hitters with more than 32 homers at Target Field since the ballpark opened in 2010. The 23-foot-tall wall that stretches from right-center field to the right field foul pole presents an additional challenge for lefties.

Among opposing players, David Ortiz notably had nine homers in 20 career games in the ballpark.

"For me personally, it plays true. It's not really pitcher-friendly or hitter-friendly," Kepler said. "If they brought the wall down a little more, it would be friendly for me specifically. There's been plenty of times where I've squared balls up and they've gone off the wall for a long single or a double, that would be homers in other parks."

Goodbye, Angel

Longtime umpire Ángel Hernández, a polarizing figure for players and fans, announced his retirement Monday. He said in a statement he wanted to spend more time with family. USA Today reported he spent the last two weeks negotiating a financial settlement with MLB.

"He's a great guy, first and foremost," Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers said. "The public only sees what goes on during the game, but he's one of the nicest guys you'll run into, and he has a great personality."

Hernández, 62, was often derided for his strike zone and he was the league's most famous umpire after Joe West retired following the 2021 season.

"I think he falsely got the name of the worst umpire in baseball," Jeffers said. "He's made some bad calls, but everybody has made bad calls. We made bad plays as players. I think you have to look at the personality of the guys, too, and see he was a really good dude."

Castillo arrives

The Twins officially added righthander Diego Castillo to their bullpen Tuesday. He was supposed to join the club for Monday's day game, but his flight was delayed in Detroit.

"The weather was so bad," Castillo said.

Castillo, 30, had a 2.50 ERA in 18 appearances with the Class AAA Saints. He didn't issue a walk in his last 12⅔ innings.

"To be back in the big leagues, that's really good for me," Castillo said. "I'm really excited for that, and I'm thankful to Minnesota for giving me this opportunity. I want to enjoy it. I'm going to enjoy it."

To make room for Castillo on the 40-man roster, Justin Topa was transferred to the 60-day injured list.


Royce Lewis went hitless in three at-bats and played six innings at third base during the Class AAA St. Paul Saints' 6-2 road loss to Rochester Red Wings in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday. Matt Wallner hit a solo homer and the Saints won 4-1 in the nightcap.

• Manager Rocco Baldelli said he wasn't close to intentionally walking Bobby Witt Jr. with two outs in the ninth inning Monday with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Jhoan Duran secured the 6-5 victory when Witt hit a comebacker to the mound on the first pitch. "Especially with the tying run at third base, I don't like walking the bases loaded right there," Baldelli said. "Bobby is a great, great player. The guy behind him [Vinnie Pasquantino] is a good hitter as well."