FORT MYERS, Fla. – It was fun watching the Twins’ top prospects perform on a major league stage for a few weeks. But it’s time to focus on this year, the team decided Sunday.
Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton, the Twins’ top-rated pitching and position-player prospects, were among the first 13 players cut from major league camp Sunday, the team announced. And Miguel Sano, whose raw power electrified fans this spring, said he was told he too will be sent down Monday.
“It was a good experience, playing with all these guys,” said Sano, who hit two tape-measure homers in six games and plenty more during batting practice. “It’s been fun.”
Berrios didn’t allow an earned run in eight Grapefruit League innings, but General Manager Terry Ryan said the 20-year-old Puerto Rican righthander, who has played only one game above Class AA, needs more innings to prepare for the season than the Twins can provide.
Similarly, Buxton, 1-for-8 this spring, “needs to get some work in,” Ryan said, especially since he missed most of last season because of injuries and has played only one game above Class A. “He needs regular playing time, four at-bats a day, center field every day.”
The moves bring the Twins’ current roster to 48.
The other 11 players who were reassigned to minor league camp were catchers Mitch Garvin and Stuart Turner, infielders Heiker Meneses, Jorge Polanco and Argenis Diaz, outfielder Max Kepler, and pitchers Logan Darnell, Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, Ryan O’Rourke and Adrian Salcedo. All the reassigned players will be placed on specific teams later, except the three who are on the Twins’ 40-man roster.
Kepler and Polanco were optioned to Class AA Chattanooga. Darnell was sent to Class AAA Rochester.
Righthander Lester Oliveros also confirmed after Sunday’s game that he had been sent out as well.
Each player received the news from Ryan, manager Paul Molitor and a position coach, “basically showing our appreciation for those guys coming in here and giving us a good day’s work,” Ryan said. Berrios took the news “very professionally,” Ryan said. “He’s a confident kid, but he’s not arrogant, he’s not conceited. He has a plan, and the plan that he came into camp with, he followed it.”
Vote of confidence
Eddie Rosario started in center field Sunday alongside seven projected regulars in the Twins’ lineup, an indication that Molitor is seriously considering the rookie for that job. Rosario went 0-for-3, but Molitor said he’s been impressed with Rosario’s defense.
“He’s made some good plays. He’s on the ball. I’ve been watching his pitch preparation, pitch to pitch. He moves around,” Molitor said of Rosario, 23, who is competing with Aaron Hicks and Jordan Schafer for the job.
After a day off Monday, Phil Hughes will be stretched out to 60 pitches or so Tuesday when the Twins face the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla. Tommy Milone and Trevor May will pitch in minor league intrasquad games Monday.