CHICAGO -- When the Twins signed Jamey Carroll before the 2012 season, it was with the hope that he would act as a teacher and stabilizer for a young infield trying to fight its way into the playoffs.

The Twins were never good enough for that to happen, though. So on Sunday, they decided to let him try to fill that role for the Royals.

Carroll, a 39-year-old utility infielder, was traded to Kansas City shortly after the Twins' 5-2 victory over Chicago, in return for a player to be named later or cash. But what comes back from the Royals, who entered the day 4 1/2 games out of a wildcard spot, didn't matter much to the Twins.

"This is about an opportunity for Jamey," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "... We weren't going to let anything stand in the way of letting him have the opportunity."

With the Twins determined to devote playing time to young players, Carroll has sat largely unused this season, starting only 46 games including Sunday. He batted .230 this season, and was so marginalized on a team that is playing for 2014 and beyond, he volunteered to pitch an inning last Monday against, coincidentally enough, the Royals. "That's when [the Royals] knew he was a true utility guy -- he can play anywhere," Antony joked. But more seriously, he said, "he'll be missed in this clubhouse."

And vice versa. "I love these guys in this room. I've had a lot of fun, got a lot of great friends that I'll have for a long time," Carroll said between hugs with his teammates. "It's going to be a little different to be on the other side. I know [Kansas City] is a good young ballclub that's playing very well, so it's exciting to go and be in that situation."

The Twins will fill Carroll's roster spot before Monday night's game against Cleveland at Target Field, Antony said.

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