ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. – The Twins needed to make room for newcomer Sam Fuld and hoped they could get Darin Mastroianni through waivers and off to Class AAA Rochester. But Mastroianni was claimed Tuesday by Toronto, the organization which drafted him in the 16th round in 2007.
“It’s disappointing,” said Rob Antony, the Twins assistant general manager. “He’s a good guy, and he’s a good insurance player when you have a guy who can run like that and can play all three outfield spots.”
Mastroianni was 0-for-11 when the Twins designated him for assignment Sunday. They believed steady work at Rochester would sharpen his bat and help him get on base more. Mastroianni, 28, is a blazer with good base-stealing instincts, but he has struggled at the plate.
“I’m happy for him,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Someone wants you, that’s always good.”
A ways away
It still could be a couple of weeks before outfielders Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia are fully recovered from their wrist injuries. Antony said Willingham, who actually has a small break in his wrist, is behind Arcia in the recovery race.
“Arcia is doing a little more,” Antony said. “I think he’s getting closer to hitting on the field and getting ready to take some full batting practice.”
Willingham might be able to try hitting some soft-toss throws in a couple of days.
Fuld was in the weight room Tuesday when he stopped at a mirror to take a look at himself in Twins gear.
“I stopped to remind myself I was back in navy, and I like it,” he said. “Big fan of the uniform.”
Fuld is probably happy to be in any major league uniform after being designated for assignment by Oakland and forced to wait to see if he would be claimed on waivers. He had just finished an Easter egg hunt with his children Sunday when he learned he was going to the Twins.
“I just tried to meet as many people as possible,” said Fuld, who knew no one with the team coming in. “I’m hoping to at least say hi to everybody before the game starts, that’s the goal. If I keep talking to you guys, I don’t like my chances.”
Fuld can play all three outfield positions and is comfortable coming off the bench.
“I like the fact that he’s played with winners,” Gardenhire said. “We’re hoping he can bring some of that to us because we’re looking to get better ourselves.”
Bartlett officially done
Jason Bartlett is officially retired now after all the necessary paperwork has been completed. Technically, the Twins had to unconditionally release him first, then had to wait for the player’s association to sign off. They hoped to complete the paperwork late last week but had trouble tracking down people over the Easter holiday.
So Bartlett’s comeback is over, ending an interesting several weeks in which the Twins lost Alex Presley on waivers to Houston when they made room for Bartlett and others at the end of camp, then lost Mastroianni to Toronto on waivers because Bartlett’s paperwork got held up and they had to make room on the 40-man roster for Fuld.
Buxton getting closer
Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton, who injured his left wrist March 16, should start taking live batting practice by the end of the week, but it will be a few more weeks before he can begin his minor league season at Class AA New Britain.