Suzuki used to blocking out trade rumors

Twins catcher has been dealt in-season in 2012 and '13

Suzuki used to blocking out trade rumors

MINNEAPOLIS -- Having already been dealt in-season twice in his career, Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki said the best course of action is not to think about the trade rumors surrounding him leading up to Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Suzuki, who has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball dating back to early June, remains Minnesota's top trade chip, especially considering interim general manager Rob Antony said he isn't actively looking to move right-hander Ervin Santana. Other trade candidates include starting pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Tommy Milone, and relievers Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad, but Suzuki would bring back the biggest return.

Suzuki, 32, has a $6 million option for next year that vests with 485 plate appearances, but he's on pace for roughly 390 plate appearances, so he's expected to be a free agent after the season. It gives Minnesota more of a reason to deal the catcher, who is hitting .288/.327/.441 with six homers, 15 doubles and 35 RBIs in 70 games entering Saturday.

"It is what it is, you can't control it," Suzuki said. "You have to just keep playing. I've been in this spot before. You just have to not worry about it."

As Suzuki noted, he has been traded during a season twice, but both times it came as an August waiver trade. He was dealt by the A's to the Nationals on Aug. 3, 2012, and then traded back from Washington to Oakland on Aug. 23, 2013.

Suzuki, an All-Star with the Twins in 2014, said he enjoys being in Minnesota, but gets why his name has been popping up in trade rumors.

Suzuki's RBI double

"I love it here," Suzuki said. "Minnesota has been good to me and my family. But I understand it's a business. Obviously, anything can happen, especially if you don't have a no-trade clause or 10-and-5 [rights]. It's part of the game. You just have to go with the flow."

Suzuki was also a trade candidate for the Twins after his hot start in 2014, but ended up signing his two-year, $12 million extension on the day of the Trade Deadline to remain with Minnesota. But this time, the Twins aren't interested in an extension with Suzuki, making it more likely he gets dealt.

Several contenders, such as the Rangers and Indians, are actively looking for catching help, and Suzuki could be a fit with the way he's been swinging the bat. Dating back to June 1, Suzuki is hitting .346/.375/.554 with five homers, 12 doubles and 24 RBIs in 37 games.

His resurgence has come while switching to an Axe Bat, which has an angled knob of the bat, an oval bottom and a flush backside that gives him a better grip and relieves pressure on the hamate bone. Suzuki joked his success isn't all because of the bat, but said it has helped him the last few months.

"It's been one of those things where I just have to keep it going," Suzuki said. "You don't really thing about it. You just kind of hit and see what happens."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.