FORT MYERS, FLA. — Scott Diamond knows how to read a scoreboard. And a roster, too.
The Twins’ decision to cut him was the right one, Diamond said Thursday, bitter though that realization is. He posted a 5.39 ERA in 17 innings this spring, and though he seemed to be improving in his past couple of starts, he knew it wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the rotation.
Kyle Gibson “had an unbelievable spring, and [Samuel] Deduno threw really well. They definitely threw better than I did,” Diamond said. “Gibson definitely deserves that fifth spot.”
But Diamond, who cleared waivers Thursday and was assigned outright to Class AAA Rochester, made it clear over the past couple of weeks that he believes he deserves a major league job, too. He’s going to take a couple of days to explore the long shot chance that another team might agree.
Because it’s the second time Diamond has been outrighted to the minors, he can refuse the assignment to Rochester and declare himself a free agent. He has 48 hours to make a decision, and his agent is calling teams in hopes of finding a major league roster spot.
“I’m unsure of what I’m going to do, but this is the organization that gave me the most opportunity. They brought me over in 2011 to try to win a spot. This is where i consider home,” said Diamond, who won 12 games for the Twins in 2012. “This isn’t the end of the fight.”
Hicks staying put
Aaron Hicks batted in front of Pedro Florimon at the bottom of the Twins’ lineup for the fifth time in the past six games Thursday, and manager Ron Gardenhire sounded like he is inclined to keep the center fielder there once the season starts Monday. Gardenhire is wary of putting too much pressure on the second-year outfielder, who suffered through a miserable rookie season as the leadoff hitter, batting .192 before being sent down.
“I don’t want Hicks thinking. I just want him down there swinging, not worried about where he’s at,” Gardenhire said.
That’s not so easy, though.
“He’s already come up and asked me, ‘Am I going to hit eighth this year?’ ’’ Gardenhire said. “I told him, basically, ‘you just pray that you’re in the top nine, and you’ll be fine.’ ’’
Well-paid in minors
Chris Parmelee was sent to Class AAA Rochester after clearing waivers Thursday, but unlike Diamond, he cannot choose free agency. But both players will earn far more than normal Triple-A salaries at Rochester, under a rule that limits year-to-year cuts in salary to 40 percent. Parmelee will earn $242,200, or 60 percent of what he earned between the majors and Triple-A last year, while Diamond, if he accepts his assignment, will be paid $282,500.
The Twins’ final game at Hammond Stadium this spring pits Phil Hughes against Boston’s Felix Doubront. The noon game will be televised by Fox Sports North.