A month ago during a road trip to Tampa Bay, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire spoke with envy about how Rays coach Joe Maddon had so much flexibility on his roster. Gardenhire wanted a more versatile bench.
He has one now, with three players in Danny Santana, Eduardo Escobar and Eduardo Nunez who all can play shortstop and slide into other positions. Nunez is capable of playing the corner outfield spots; Escobar could play the corner spots too, although he had his difficult moments during the Cleveland series last week. And Santana, Gardenhire said, looked reliable in center field Sunday when he replaced Aaron Hicks.
It certainly helps that all threem have been hitting lately, with Santana and Nunez getting RBI in the Twins’ 4-3 rally over Detroit on Sunday.
Gardenhire likes the look of the bench after Nunez was called up Thursday.
“We definitely have been looking for Nunez,” Gardenhire said. “He gives us bench strength, gives us more options. This is going to give us that versatility we’re desperately needing right now.”
Gardenhire said he would mix and match who will start at shortstop, but Santana did start three of the past four games.
Josh Willingham, making progress with the broken bone in his left wrist, took batting practice at Target Field on Monday and felt good, according to assistant general manager Rob Antony.
“He will continue to take [batting practice] here and hopefully be ready to go out on a rehab assignment soon,” Antony said.
Outfielder Sam Fuld, on the seven-day disabled list because of a concussion, is feeling, “a little better,” Antony said.
Fuld has not had any recent tests to see how much progress he has made.
Antony said outfield prospect Byron Buxton has not yet had the magnetic resonance imaging exam on his left wrist yet. Buxton aggravated a wrist injury Thursday while sliding into a base.
• Class A Cedar Rapids shortstop Engelb Vielma was named the Twins minor league player of the week after batting .423 for the Kernels last week.