Butera, Holm will split duties

Both are good defensive catchers, with Holm being a little better hitter.

Steve Holm

Photo: Dave Martin, Associated Press

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ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Friday he plans to split the catching duties between Drew Butera and Steve Holm. Holm was called up from Class AAA Rochester on Thursday when Joe Mauer had to be placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a viral infection.

"We're going to mix them both in there and see what happens there,'' Gardenhire said "Drew is a very good catch-and-thrower and Steve can do those things, too. And we liked [Holm] him in spring training. Actually hit the ball pretty good for us."

Holm, 31, appeared in 53 games between 2008 and 2009 with San Francisco. He spent all of last season with Class AAA Fresno, batting .246 with four homers and 37 RBI in 82 games. He's a .242 hitter over 10 minor league seasons. He was 2-for-8 for Rochester before being promoted.

Butera has a better arm, but Gardenhire said Holm throws well, too.

"He's been in the big leagues with a very good team over there in San Francisco,'' Gardenhire said. "We're excited to have him up here. We'll see how he does, and he will definitely mix time with Drew.''

Butera had a RBI single Thursday, and Gardenhire said he thinks Butera will hit better with more consistent playing time.

"Drew can actually drive a ball pretty decent,'' Gardenhire said of Butera, who batted .197 in 49 games last season.

Battle on the bases

Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena left via free agency. Evan Longoria is on the disabled list. Manny Ramirez is believed to be in Spain.

The Rays are hurting for offense, so they want to be aggressive on the base paths -- and slow down other teams' running games.

"In spring training, if you watched Tampa Bay they got all kinds of pickoff plays,'' Gardenhire said. ''We've seen them at second base. We've seen them at first base. And we like to throw behind people, too.''

Alexi Casilla was picked off first base Thursday, and Denard Span was picked off first Friday. The Twins tried to pick Matt Joyce off first base Thursday and failed, but got him at second.

The pickoff attempts have been flying. On Thursday when the Twins loaded the bases, Rays manager Joe Maddon went to the mound. Suddenly, James Shields faked a throw to third, then whirled and threw to second.

To second!

"First time I've ever seen that," Gardenhire said. "If they invented that on the field, that's great playground stuff.''

Etc.

• Luke Hughes' father wanted to see his son play a major league baseball game. So he's in town for the series. Getting here wasn't easy: He flew from Perth, Australia, to Hong Kong to San Francisco to Charlotte, N.C., and then to Tampa. That's 30 hours of travel time.

• Gardenhire said Span will get Sunday off, so Jason Repko is expected to make his second start of the season. It will be his first start in center field.

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