SEATTLE -- Drew Butera's 15-game stint with Triple-A Rochester wasn't something the 28-year-old catcher wanted to go through, but he said he's better for the experience.
Butera, whose defensive skills have always been held in high regard, returned to the Twins on Tuesday and to the starting lineup on Friday night, catching starter Carl Pavano while Joe Mauer assumed designated-hitter duties. Butera made the Twins' Opening Day roster in 2011 and played 93 games, batting .167. He hit .273 in Spring Training, but was cut in late March.
He said he arrived at Triple-A with a different mindset, and it paid off. Butera hit .279 (12-for-43) with three doubles, one homer and five RBIs with the Red Wings.
"It was about just having better at-bats, more quality at-bats," Butera said. "It wasn't so much worrying about having a better average, or hitting home runs or driving guys in, just having a quality at-bat and do the things I need to do -- move guys over, drive guys in when I have the opportunity to. It's something that, when I went down there, I took more pride in."
Twins acting manager Scott Ullger said he liked what he saw from Butera in batting practice.
"He's swinging better," Ullger said. "He took extra BP and hit the ball hard through the middle. Of course, that's just BP and we'll see what happens in the game. But he does look more confident."