Starter could win job in Twins bullpen
- February 17, 2014 - 6:41 AM
FORT MYERS, FLA. – As spring training begins and the battles for roster spots begin, keep something in mind. The best players don’t always make a team, the ones out of options sometimes do.
Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley are all out of options and are fighting for the final spot in the rotation. But more than one Twins official has mentioned the possibility of keeping two of them and using one as a reliever.
‘‘Anything is possible.’’ Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said, ‘‘We’re going to try to take our best guys, and you don’t want to lose guys who you think can help you but that happens sometimes. They have to pitch themselves on to the team. They have to earn it.’’
The Twins might have one bullpen spot open. Might. Rookie Michael Tonkin, with his 96-mile-per-hour fastball, is a candidate. So is veteran Matt Guerrier, who has signed a minor league deal. They already have rubber-armed Anthony Swarzak as a long relief candidate. It promises to be an interesting camp.
If the Twins wanted to send Deduno, Diamond or Worley to the minors they would have to clear waivers first. And it’s hard to see any of them clearing waivers.
Wimmers is around
Minor leaguers don’t report to camp for three more weeks, but several already are in Fort Myers to use the facility. One of them is former first-round pick Alex Wimmers, who battled severe control problems early in his career, then had Tommy John elbow surgery in August 2012. He has recovered and is eager to pitch.
Wimmers threw in the bullpen Friday, in between Worley and Guerrier. Wimmers, who pitched just 15 innings for the Twins’ Gulf Coast League team, is only throwing fastballs and changeups now but will move on to curveballs and sliders in the next few weeks.
‘‘I should be good to go by the end of spring training,’’ he said.
The Twins will be careful with Wimmers. In four pro seasons, Wimmers has thrown a total of 77⅓ innings.
• Shortstop Pedro Florimon reported to camp Sunday with larger muscles than a year ago. He also reports as a new father. His daughter, Elody, was born Feb. 1.
The Twins expected pitchers and catchers to report to camp by the end of the day.
• Both Twins phenoms Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano have reported to camp. Sano has been in Fort Myers for several weeks, actually, working out on the back fields. Buxton drove in from his home in Baxley, Ga., on Saturday.
2012 stats: 0-0, 5.14 ERA in nine games (14 innings) for the Cubs; 8-10, 4.46 ERA in 27 games at Class AAA Iowa.
Acquired: Claimed off waivers on Feb. 12.
Role: Starter, likely at Class AAA Rochester.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III
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