FORT MYERS, Fla. — Righthanders Alex Wimmers and Nick Tepesch were reassigned to the Twins’ minor league camp on Wednesday, officially putting Michael Tonkin and Justin Haley in the bullpen and leaving the Twins with only one more decision to make about their pitching staff.
With Glen Perkins and Ryan O’Rourke headed to the disabled list, only the fifth starting spot — either lefthander Adalberto Mejia or righthander Tyler Duffey — remains to be awarded, with a decision expected sometime today.
Meanwhile, the Twins’ bullpen appears set, with Brandon Kintzler, Matt Belisle and Ryan Pressly handling late-inning assignments, Craig Breslow and Taylor Rogers the left-handers, and Tonkin and Haley the righthanders.
Wimmers, a former Twins first-round pick, and Tepesch, a major-league veteran with the Rangers and Dodgers, had relatively strong springs — Wimmers had 2.00 ERA and had not allowed a run in his last five appearances — but were likely squeezed out by their roster status. Neither is on the 40-man roster, so taking them to Minnesota this weekend would have meant putting another player on waivers.
“It’s probably just roster numbers. They said I performed well, which is all I can worry about,” Wimmers, the Twins’ No. 1 draft pick in 2010, said after being informed of the decision. “I feel good. I feel ready for a full season in the big leagues. And once I get there, I don’t want to come back. Obviously I’m very disappointed.”
Considering the Twins appear likely to need roster spots for two other players — ByungHo Park and Chris Gimenez — the decision to stick with pitchers already on the 40-man roster was probably especially appealing to manager Paul Molitor and chief baseball office Derek Falvey.
In addition to the fifth starter, the Twins still have decisions to make about the position players. Gimenez is competing with John Ryan Murphy to be the backup catcher, and Park is in competition with Kennys Vargas to be the designated hitter. Robbie Grossman and J.B. Shuck are potential backup outfielders, though the decision to keep Grossman, if healthy, appears clear. And a trio of utility players, consisting of Eduardo Escobar, Ehire Adrianza and Danny Santana, must be whittled to two for the final roster, though that decision seems obvious, too: Adrianza, bothered by a strained quad, likely starts the season on the disabled list.
With other four players already informed they will be assigned to Class AAA Rochester — catcher Eddy Rodriguez, and infielders Matt Hague, Bengie Gonzalez and Ben Paulsen — the Twins’ roster is almost complete.