CLEARWATER, FLA. – Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said there are plenty of “moving parts” as the final roster decisions take place with Opening Day a week away.
And some decisions will be about parts that Gardenhire can move around the infield. Citing the Tampa Bay Rays as an example, Gardenhire said he wants as much flexibility with his bench as possible.
“What we need is an interchangeable bench,” he said. “We need people who can play all over the place.”
That’s why Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Escobar have played in the outfield and Chris Parmelee recently made a brief appearance in center. The one player who could land a roster spot because of his flexibility is Chris Herrmann, who is batting .412 this spring. Herrmann can play the outfield, first base and catcher.
“Everyone forgets about his name,” Gardenhire said. “He’s pretty good. He’s an interchangeable part that we’re discussing. His swing is better. He’s gotten better all the way around.”
With Herrmann on the team, Gardenhire said he could use Josmil Pinto as a designated hitter at times.
“Would you like to see Pinto hit more?” Gardenhire asked.
Bartlett not back?
Bartlett’s comeback bid with the Twins could be over this week. Their former starting shortstop could exercise an opt-out clause in his contract and become a free agent if it looks like he is not going to be on the Twins’ Opening Day roster.
Bartlett said after Sunday’s 5-1 loss to Philadelphia that he had not been told anything by the Twins. Meanwhile, several players across the majors, including former Twins reliever Jose Mijares, activated similar clauses in their contracts over the weekend. Bartlett said he will consider all options before making a decision, which could come Monday or Tuesday.
Bartlett was 1-for-2 Sunday, raising his spring batting average to .088. He has played short, second, third and all three outfield positions during camp and has not looked out of place as he has switched gloves. He did look overwhelmed at the plate when games began, but the quality of his at-bats has improved with time.
“I know I haven’t made it easy for them to make a decision,” Bartlett said. “I haven’t been raking, but I know they like the leadership.”
Bartlett said he has felt great physically in his return to action for the first time since May 2012 because of a right knee injury that required surgery. He signed a minor league deal with the Twins in November that pays him $1 million if he makes the team.
An MRI exam on outfielder Byron Buxton’s sore left wrist revealed no structural damage. The top prospect has missed a week since injuring the wrist diving for a ball in a minor league spring training game. He is considered day-to-day.
Righthander Mike Pelfrey, who has a 2.53 ERA this spring, will start on Monday against the Rays at Hammond Stadium against righthander Chris Archer.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III