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Drew Butera beat a tag at the plate by Oakland counterpart Kurt Suzuki last season.

Ben Margot, Associated Press - Ap

Twins ship Butera to minor leagues

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN
  • Star Tribune
  • April 1, 2012 - 12:38 AM

FORT MYERS, FLA. — Drew Butera, who spent the past two full seasons in the majors, packed his locker Saturday morning in the Twins clubhouse after being told he had been sent to Class AAA Rochester.

"They told me they were going with two catchers," Butera said. "I'm just going to go down and work on some things, get some at-bats and get some playing time."

The Twins contemplated keeping a third catcher to go with Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit, but it looks like catcher J.R. Towles also will be sent packing before camp ends.

Butera batted .167 last year, but he's had better at-bats this spring and is batting .273. He knew his chances of remaining on the 25-man roster grew tougher when the Twins signed Doumit in December.

"It's part of the business," Butera said. "I've been in it long enough where I know these things happen. So I wasn't blindsided. I knew this might be an option."

Doumit is batting .325 after going 2-for-5 against the Pirates with his second homer of the spring. Mauer is batting .358.

The decision to keep two catchers also means infielder Sean Burroughs probably makes the team. He delivered another pinch hit against Pittsburgh, raising his Grapefruit League average to .342.

2004 ALDS flashback

Manager Ron Gardenhire refuted Torii Hunter's recent claim to CBSSports.com that a young righthanded hitter -- presumably Lew Ford -- turned down a request to pinch hit for Jason Kubel against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in Game 2 of the 2004 American League Division Series.

The Twins had the go-ahead run on third base with one out in the eighth inning, when Rivera fanned Kubel on three pitches. The Yankees went on to win that game in 12 innings, starting a streak of 12 consecutive postseason losses for the Twins.

"I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus or anything like that," Gardenhire said, "but I've never had a player -- no matter when it was -- tell me, 'No, I don't want to hit.' Never happened.

"I don't really know where that came from. ... Kubel, who was one of our best hitters down the stretch. We had two lefthanders in a row get hits -- [Justin] Morneau and [Corey] Koskie. Believe me, I wasn't going to pinch hit Lew Ford for Jason Kubel with Kubel's swing."

Etc.

• Infielder Alexi Casilla (right knee inflammation) went through a full pregame workout and could return to the lineup Sunday, Ryan said.

• Gardenhire said it's safe to assume Chris Parmelee will be on the Opening Day roster, adding, "I think he makes our lineup very deep if he's batting eighth. So that's kind of fun."

• Besides the Butera move, the Twins re-assigned infielder Michael Hollimon to minor league camp and officially placed reliever Kyle Waldrop (strained right elbow) on the 15-day DL, leaving 31 players on their spring training roster.

On deck

Carl Pavano will start for the Twins opposite Red Sox righthander Vicente Padilla when the teams meet at JetBlue Park.

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