Dozier is among Twins' final cuts of spring training

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • April 1, 2012 - 11:20 PM

FORT MYERS, FLA. — Brian Dozier made a push to make the Twins roster, and his chances appeared to increase when fellow infielder Alexi Casilla injured his knee last week.

But Casilla worked out Sunday and felt fine. And the Twins realized that Dozier, who hit .277 with three homers in spring training, needs more seasoning. He will play mostly shortstop at Class AAA Rochester but occasionally will play second so Tsuyoshi Nishioka can get some time at short.

"Brian Dozier has not had an at-bat above Double-A," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He needs a few at-bats. We'll get him some swings at Triple-A and see how everything goes here. He had a heck of a spring, a very good spring. Very impressed."

Dozier has put himself in position to make his major league debut this year. He described starting shortstop Jamey Carroll as a mentor, crediting the veteran for his help in camp.

"Obviously you keep learning things, but at the same time I believe I'm ready, and that's the big thing that we were talking about in there," Dozier said. "They think I'm ready. But like I said, it's a business, so I just got to keep chugging along in Triple-A and everything will be fine."

Catching conundrum

The Twins sent catcher J.R. Towles to the minor league camp, setting up an interesting battle for playing time at Class AAA Rochester, where he is expected to land.

Rene Rivera, who batted .144 in 45 games with the Twins last season, already is with Rochester. But both Towles and Drew Butera were sent down there in recent days. They all need to play so they can develop their hitting. But how?

"We're going to have to pick and choose there,'' Ryan said. "We've got to make sure that each one of those guys gets a fair shake, and that's going to be a tough juggling act for [manager] Gene Glynn."


• Casilla worked out on Sunday with no problems, but it's not known when he will be ready to play in a game.

• Righthander Scott Baker reported no problems with his elbow Sunday, one day after throwing 60 pitches in an outing against Class AAA Pawtucket. He is expected to start on Thursday for Class A Fort Myers in the home opener for the Miracle.

On deck

Lefthander Francisco Liriano will make his final start of spring training when the Twins head to Port Charlotte to play Tampa Bay. Lefthander David Price is scheduled to start for the Rays.

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