FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton, the Twins’ top-rated pitching and position-player prospects, were among the first players cut from the major-league team, the team announced Sunday.
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 with injuries and has played only one game above Class A. “He needs regular playing time, four at-bats a day, center field every day.”
Seven other players were reassigned to minor-league camp before the game on Sunday, bringing the Twins’ current roster to 52. The first round of cuts included catchers Mitch Garver and Stuart Turner, infielder Heiker Meneses, outfielder Max Kepler, and pitchers Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers and Ryan O’Rourke. All were reassigned to the minor-league camp, where they will be placed on specific teams later, except for Kepler, who is on the Twins’ 40-man roster. The 22-year-old native of Germany was optioned to Class AA Chattanooga.
Each of those players received the news Sunday morning 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 good man. He took it well. 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.”
Four more players were reassigned after Sunday's game. Left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell was sent to Triple-A Rochester and infielder Jorge Polanco to Double-A Chattanooga. Additionally, the Twins reassigned right-handed pitcher Adrian Salcedo and infielder Argenis Diaz to minor league camp.
Third baseman Miguel Sano, who hit two towering home runs last week, was not included in the first round of cuts, but he’ll be headed to minor-league camp soon, Ryan said. “He’s got on-and-off playing time now, [but] it’ll get to that point with him and a few other shortly. We’ll see exactly how long he hangs around,” the general manager said. “All those young guys, unless they’re in competition to make this team — he’s not ready for that quite yet — then we’ll ultimately get them back across the street shortly.”