Two members of the bullpen became former Twins on Saturday.
Adalberto Mejía and Mike Morin, each designated for assignment in the past week when the Twins decided to move on, found new homes. Mejia was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels, and Morin was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for an undisclosed sum.
The latter move apparently struck a nerve with Jose Berrios, who tweeted in response to news of the transaction, “They just want to get money … I wish you the best my man!” The amount of money changing hands in transactions like this is typically minimal, however, and Berrios later deleted the tweet. When he arrived at Target Field, Berrios said that Morin “is a great guy. I’ll miss him.”
One more pitcher’s status is still to be determined. The Twins have until Wednesday to trade, waive or release righthander Matt Magill. If he goes unclaimed — considered unlikely, given his 98-mile-per-hour fastball — he can elect to become a free agent.
Getting on base
Seven years into his major league career, Robbie Grossman has a specific skill set. He’s a slightly above-average hitter with below-average power, and a passable outfielder. And he gets on base.
Grossman, who led the Twins in on-base percentage in two of his three seasons with the Twins and finished second behind Joe Mauer in the other, owns a .354 career on-base mark, higher than any current Twins player besides rookie Luis Arraez. Which is why he was mildly surprised when the Twins informed him last November that they weren’t planning to offer him a contract for 2019.
“They said they had decided to go a different way. It’s part of the business,” Grossman said.
Don’t teams value hitters who can get on base as much as they used to? “Sure. I just don’t think [the Twins] do,” he said. “But I’m really lucky — I ended up on a great team that values on-base, that is a terrific fit for me, and I get to play for a guy like [A’s manager] Bob Melvin. So it worked out really well for me.”
Oakland offered him $2 million, made him the everyday left fielder, and “really let me be me. No restrictions.”
“It’s awesome [in Oakland],” he said. “There’s a reason why [Melvin] has been so successful for so many years. The communication is great, the confidence he shows in his guys is second to none.”
Though the A’s started 19-25 and fell as many as 12 games behind Houston in the AL West, they now occupy one of the AL’s wild-card spots. Grossman, who said he still regularly communicates with former Twins manager Paul Molitor, believes his new team is more dangerous than his old one, too.
“Where we’re at right now just shows you how good a team we have. I think we have a better team [than the Twins], and we have a tougher schedule, that’s for sure,” Grossman said.
Would he like to face his former team in the playoffs? “Sure,” Grossman said with a smile. “If they make it.”
• Byron Buxton will take the standard concussion tests Sunday, in hopes of being cleared to play. The center fielder, injured while diving for a ball last weekend at Cleveland, “looks good, and he’s doing a heck of a lot better than he was,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s moving around. He can do some baseball-related activities.”
• Jonathan Schoop returned to the lineup Saturday after a magnetic resonance imaging test revealed nothing but minor inflammation in his oblique. “I still feel it, but it doesn’t really hurt,” he said. “I’m good to go.” The second baseman felt a twinge in his ribs while swinging a bat Tuesday, though “he said he was fine the entire time,” Baldelli said.
• Eddie Rosario had “stomach issues” during Friday’s 94-degree game and was out of the lineup Saturday but is expected play Sunday. Rosario’s day off allowed Miguel Sano to return to the cleanup spot in the Twins’ starting lineup for the first time since Sept. 1.