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San Diego Padres' Everth Cabrera, left, beats the throw to Minnesota Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas during a pick-off attempt in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Minneapolis. Vargas hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning as the Twins won 3-1. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Jim Mone, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

Vargas continues to work on defense with Twins

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • August 21, 2014 - 7:43 AM

Kennys Vargas made his 15th start as the designated hitter Wednesday since being called up from Class AA New Britain. He’s made three starts at first base, but Vargas has been the DH ever since Joe Mauer returned from the disabled list.

But Vargas continues to work on his defense. He had hands of stone and clumsy footwork when the Twins signed him out of Puerto Rico in 2009. Keep in mind that Puerto Rican players must be drafted. Vargas was not selected by anyone and the Twins took a shot at molding him into a player.

“When we first got him, he had trouble,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said, “and I mean trouble. He didn’t have much of a feel for playing the position, defensively.”

Vargas was out early Tuesday, working with the coaching staff — and special instructor Tom Kelly — on the finer points of playing first base.

“It was a good session,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I called T.K. and asked him to come out here. He works with first basemen. He’s really good at it. We worked on some of his throwing, his footwork and his arm action.”

Looks like Pino

The Twins have not announced their rotation for the upcoming series against Detroit, which includes a day-night doubleheader Saturday. Teams are allowed to call up an extra player for the doubleheader day, and all signs point to that player being righthander Yohan Pino.

Pino was sent down Friday to make room for Ricky Nolasco’s return from the disabled list. On Monday, he held Syracuse to two runs over seven innings, which doesn’t hurt his chances at all.

“He pitched well and it lines up,” Ryan said. “So it makes a lot of sense.”

Etc.

• Brad Steil, the Twins’ director of minor league operations, said there was nothing new to report on the condition of righthander Kohl Stewart, the 2013 first-round pick who had recent shoulder problems and had to leave Tuesday’s start as a precaution. Ryan said he didn’t think Stewart’s condition was serious, pointing out that a battery of tests was performed last month when he started having problems.

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