My mom has always been into baseball. She watches a lot of games, and she reads a lot of baseball books, including books about the mechanics of baseball. She really took a liking to the game itself, and she has always taken it really seriously.

She has become very smart, very intelligent about baseball. It is sort of weird to hear about baseball details from your mother. Mostly she talks to me about my approach at the plate and my swing. We talk about my using right field when I have two strikes. We talk about hitting the ball to right-center and waiting for a good pitch to hit. Those are the things she has always been tough on me about.

When I was younger, it was very unique relating to the other kids I played and grew up with. Some would mess with me, saying things like my mom knew more about baseball and our team than our coach did. It was weird to see some of the guys go up and ask her for advice. It stopped once I got to high school. She has always been tough on me, but I would listen. She was as much of my coach as she was my mother.

The website Wikipedia says that she was one of my two hitting coaches when I was a kid. That is not entirely true, but I guess it is what it is.

Now that I am up in the big leagues, she follows me closely and she follows the Twins closely from her home in Florida. She has the baseball TV package. and when she is not watching our games, she is watching the games of the guys I played with in college. She is always watching games and keeping up with those teams. She also does a good job of following some of my friends who are in the Minor Leagues.

Overall, my mother has been very supportive of me and my endeavors. She has always expected a lot from me, and she is someone I really care about and listen when she says something. She is my mom -- I love her -- and she is always trying to help. She just probably goes about it differently than most moms.

I also know that she is very proud of me. She is happy to watch me on TV and tell her friends that she raised a son who plays in the Majors.

Twins third baseman Danny Valencia had a solid first full season in the big leagues in 2011, hitting .246 with 15 homers and 72 RBIs in 154 games. In 2010 -- his rookie year -- he hit .311 in 85 contests.