23-year-old Jose Berrios and his family ahead of the Twins' trip to Puerto Rico this week. Courtesy of MB Sports TV News.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Nothing brings people from all walks of life together like America’s pastime, and few men are as excited about the Minnesota Twins' series against the Cleveland Indians in Puerto Rico as pitcher Jose Berrios and outfielder Eddie Rosario.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” 23-year-old Berrios said of the two-game set as he sat inside the Twin’s Clubhouse Sunday morning. The Bayamon, Puerto Rico native has spent the last several years flexing his strong arm and improving his talents on the mound.
Thursday, fans got all the proof they needed of Berrios skill after he dominated the White Sox with 11 strikeouts.
“I had a good output, all glory be to God,” Berrios said.
The series against Chicago has since been delayed by an historic winter storm, but that's only made Berrios and his teammates all the more eager to get to Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
“We want to give it 100 percent," Berrios said. "We want every victory for the team, but this series carries with it something very special. A bonus, if you will--the opportunity to play in Puerto Rico, my home island, in front of my friends and family who aren’t always able to make it to the mainland to see me play."
The star pitcher truly couldn’t be more thrilled to be the Twins’ right-hand-man.
After Hurricanes Irma and Maria it was unclear the stadium would be repaired in advance of this month's games. From there, the series became a symbol of the recovery effort – representing a beacon of resilience even in the face of widespread destruction.
“We want to use this series as an opportunity to spread joy to every single person there,” Berrios said.
The father of three dedicated his entire off-season to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico – approximately five months of time helping to feed, clothe and restore power to the island's residents.
“Every family, every human being would wake up day after day to get their life to what it was before the hurricane," Berrios said. "That gave me so much pride as a Boricua (Puerto Rican) to see that our island carries on despite the situation and our people stay strong."
Also carried by the resilience of his fellow Boricuas is Twins' left fielder Eddie Rosario.
“We’re headed to Puerto Rico to dance, to celebrate with our fellow Boricuas and enjoy these two games,” Rosario said Sunday ahead of the team's departure.
Born and raised in Guayama, Puerto Rico, 26-year-old Rosario has visited twice since Hurricane Maria struck to provide relief as the recovery effort continues to unfold.
“I’ve matured. It made me want to grow more as a man, spiritually and mentally," he said. "The efforts, what they did is give me the motivation to keep going."
During this series visit, however, Rosario admits he looks forward to a home-cooked meal or two: sweet, fried plantains or rice with pigeon peas and pork, his preferred Puerto Rican dishes.
And just as Rosario knows how to bridge the gaps between his ties on the island and the mainland, he also knows how to translate his cultural and athletic devotion into a memorable performance.
“The goal is to make sure everyone is satisfied with this series,” he assured, saying he hopes that Twins fans will be watching and waiting to celebrate their great American victory. “I truly couldn’t be more proud or grateful to be with the Minnesota Twins."
Both Rosario and Berrios will suit up for the team Tuesday and Wednesday for their two-game series against the Indians before heading to Florida Friday for a three-game stand against the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.