Miller blog: Twins rained out; Monday's cuts bring Twins roster into focus
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- March 24, 2014 - 12:44 PM
UPDATE: A steady rain, and forecasts of more, forced the Twins to cancel Monday's game against the Rays at 1:45 p.m. EDT. There will be no makeup. The Twins will face Baltimore on Tuesday at Hammond Stadium.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins' roster is all but complete now, after 10 players were moved out during a busy Monday morning at Hammond Stadium.
Jason Kubel and Josmil Pinto appear assured of roster spots, with only four cuts remaining before the 25-man roster is finalized ahead of next Monday's 2014 opener in Chicago. Still to be determined: The fate of Scott Diamond, the apparent odd man out in the fifth-starter competition; who will back up Joe Mauer at first base, Chris Parmelee or Chris Colabello; which utility infielder comes north, Eduardo Escober or Jason Bartlett; and when Rochester catcher Dan Rohlfing is assigned to Triple-A.
The Twins' bullpen was finalized with some difficult cuts Monday, including the decision to release veteran righthander Matt Guerrier in order to allow him to seek another major-league job. Guerrier, his spring delayed by his comeback from forearm surgery last August, made three encouraging appearances and one bad one, but had not done enough to dislodge an incumbent reliever.
One member of the 2013 bullpen was dispatched, however; righthander Ryan Pressly, the former Rule 5 draftee who still had options remaining, was sent to Class AAA Rochester, along with one of the stars of the spring, righthander Michael Tonkin, who did not allow a run in seven appearances.
Also optioned: catcher Chris Herrmann, whose .412 batting average led all Twins hopefuls this spring, but whose roster spot was claimed instead by Pinto, a more promising hitter.
Six non-roster players were reassigned to minor-league camp, including three relievers -- righthander Deolis Guerra and lefthanders Aaron Thompson and Matt Hoffman -- plus infielders Deibinson Romero and Doug Bernier and outfielder Wilkin Ramirez.
The moves clear up many questions about the roster, like: Will the Twins keep both Aaron Hicks and Alex Presley to play center field (yes); is Pinto ready to skip Class AAA (the Twins think so); and are any members of last year's bullpen vulnerable (just Pressly, as it turns out)?
The identity of the chief utility man should be known by Tuesday, when Bartlett has the right to declare himself a free agent if he's not on the 25-man roster. "I don't know what I'm going to do. I haven't heard anything [from the Twins], and I don't know who my agent as talked to," said Bartlett, whose one-year absence from professional baseball has been reflected in his 3-for-34 results at the plate. He's been improving as camp has gone on, and has been sure-handed in the field, but Bartlett remains the underdog in his battle with Escobar.
Parmelee and Colabello is more of a toss-up, with the latter's righthanded bat and 12 hits this spring offset by the fact that Parmelee is out of options. Diamond's status is unknown; after being beaten out by Kyle Gibson and Samuel Deduno for the final spots on the pitching staff, the left-hander could either be traded or put on waivers, available to be claimed by any other team.
As for today's game, it's in doubt, thanks to a steady rain that seems to be getting heavier by the minute. Batting practice has been cancelled, but the Twins hope some of the clouds move on before the noon CDT start. The game, if it's played, will be televised by Fox Sports North, and this will be the Twins' lineup:
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