MINNEAPOLIS — St. Joseph graduate Doug Bernier made his 2013 season debut for the Minnesota Twins Sunday.
Although his Twins lost to the Cleveland Indians 7-1, Bernier reached a personal milestone in the game.
Bernier, who was called up after a solid season with the Rochester Red Wings of the International League, took over for third baseman Trevor Plouffe in the eighth inning, and walked to reach base for the first time in the majors.
Bernier, who played exclusively at shortstop with Rochester, went 0 for 4 in his two other major league games while with the Colorado Rockies in 2008.
Bernier advanced to second base after taking his base on balls, but didn’t move any further after shortstop Pedro Florimon grounded into a double play to end the eighth inning.
Plouffe has struck out six straight at-bats and seven times throughout the three-game series. Florimon is batting .231 on the year. If the infielders continue to struggle at the plate, opportunities may become abundant for Bernier.
Cleveland starter Justin Masterson nearly threw a no-hitter in the game, taking his bid into the seventh inning, when Twins second baseman Brian Dozier led off the seventh with a broken-bat blooper to center field that dunked in under the glove of a sliding Drew Stubbs for a double.
Earlier, Michael Brantley hit a bases-loaded triple to help the Indians beat the Twins and avoid a three-game sweep.
Bernier is making the trip back to California. The Twins open up a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels today in Anaheim, beginning with tonight’s 7 p.m. game. The Twins then play at Seattle.
An infielder who signed a free agent deal with Minnesota earlier this year, Bernier, 33, played really well for the Red Wings. In 92 games with them, he batted .295 with three home runs, 15 doubles, five triples and 11 RBIs. He also stole four bases.
Bernier was playing so well, he virtually forced the Twins to call him up.
He was named the player of the week for the Red Wings after batting .391 with four runs scored and three RBIs, the week of July 1-7. It was the second week in a row he won the honor.
Bernier has also played with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies and New York Yankees organizations.
Bernier, in his 12th season of professional baseball, had his contract picked up by the Minnesota Twins and joined the big league club last Thursday, after the All-Star break.