WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Paul Molitor acknowledged the Twins’ quartet of WBC players — Kennys Vargas, Hector Santiago, Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios, all playing for Team Puerto Rico — in front of their teammates on Saturday and wished them well. But the first three of those players have one more piece of business before they leave: playing today against the Nationals.
Santiago will start and pitch three innings or 45 pitches, while Vargas serves as the designated hitter and Rosario plays right field, where the Twins have been told he might be stationed in World Baseball Classic games next weekend. Then they’re off to Arizona for the first team workout on Tuesday.
Molitor said the Twins will scout Puerto Rican games closely, and it’s possible that the foursome, and particularly Vargas and Berrios, whose roster spots are most at risk, could help themselves with strong showings in such a charged atmosphere. The Puerto Ricans could be gone three weeks if they advance to the championship game, but it definitely won’t be out-of-sight-out-of-mind while they’re away.
Right, Paul Molitor?
“[Vargas] has got to be pretty far away to be out of sight,” the manager joked.
Here are the lineups for today’s game at brand-new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, which the Nationals split with the Houston Astros: