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Louisville's Nick Burdi, right

Timothy D. Easley, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

Hard-throwing Burdi will open pro career at Cedar Rapids

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • Star Tribune
  • June 25, 2014 - 5:18 AM

– Off the top of his head, Terry Ryan mentioned Scott Erickson as a player the organization assigned to Class A ball right after the draft.

Nick Burdi, a righthander from Louisville, will be another one.

The Twins on Tuesday announced the signing of Burdi, their second-round pick in the first-year player draft earlier this month. Burdi, according to a source, will receive a signing bonus of $1,218,800, which matches what the league recommended for that slot. Burdi, the national college closer of the year, will join Class A Cedar Rapids on Friday.

“We started him there because it looks like he’s ready to pitch there, according to people who have seen him,” Ryan said.

With a fastball that runs from 96 to 100 miles per hour — he threw one pitch at 103 this season — and a power slider, Burdi has the tools to dominate, making him a candidate to quickly move through the system.

“I don’t know, until you get them out there and see what they do,” Ryan said. “It’s all about production and performance and makeup. Certainly how he goes about his business.”

The Twins also announced the signing of their 11th-round pick, Tanner English, an outfielder from the University of South Carolina. In all, the Twins have signed 28 of their 40 picks.

Ryan is making his first road trip of the season after undergoing cancer surgery in February.

Lack of track-tion

Sometimes during spring training, Joe Mauer would get in the batting cage and do nothing but bunt. He wasn’t trying to perfect that skill. It was his way of working on tracking pitching moving toward the plate.

It must be an important part of Mauer’s preparation. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that, earlier this season, Mauer told him the one thing that catching helped him do was track pitches. Working with teammates in the bullpen before games and before he batted would help his focus.

“That is something he has to get used to,” Gardenhire said. “He’s not tracking as many pitches now so it is different. He’s used to tracking so many pitches from our pitchers that you get your eyes lined up, everything lined up. And that makes a lot of sense.”

Mauer also has dealt with a back issue this season and admitted to being too aggressive at the plate. But he’s coming off of a series against the White Sox during which he hit .375 with six RBI in four games. Mauer’s lack of Mauerness this season has been a constant topic with all kinds of theories offered. This is another one.

Roster remains same

Gardenhire talked about making a roster to move to get back down to 12 pitchers. But it looks like the Twins will play this road trip with 13 pitchers and a three-man bench.

The next round of roster moves could come when the Twins return from the road trip. That’s because infielders Trevor Plouffe (rib) and Eduardo Nunez (right hamstring) will be ready to come off the disabled list. Plouffe, in fact, will join the Twins in Texas this weekend to work out on the field for three days before he’s activated off the DL.

© 2014 Star Tribune