Brain cancer claims Twins minor leaguer Paul Bargas, 23

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2012 - 11:11 PM

Paul Bargas

Paul Bargas developed brain cancer and never got to pitch in a single game after the Twins acquired him from the Rockies in a December 2010 trade for catcher Jose Morales, but Bargas won't soon be forgotten by the Twins.

He died Tuesday at age 23.

"It was incredibly inspirational to get to know him," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Wednesday.

Antony and Twins scout John Leavitt went to visit Bargas at the UCLA Medical Center on April 30, when the team was in Southern California to play the Angels.

"We went into his hospital room, and this kid was struggling," Antony said. "He hadn't eaten in days. You could tell he was weak. You just don't know how they're going to respond. But he kept saying, 'I'm all right, I'm all right.' He just wanted to talk baseball."

Bargas, who posted a 3.59 ERA in 58 relief appearances for the Rockies' Class A Asheville affiliate in 2010, started feeling severe headaches the winter after the trade. The Twins quickly got him to the hospital after he reported to spring training in 2011. He tried making a comeback last winter before the cancer returned.

"He and his family kept telling us how much they appreciated everything the Twins had done for them," Antony said. "I walked out of there and probably got more out of it than anybody else, seeing what a positive outlook he had."

Waldrop promoted

The Twins optioned righthander Jeff Manship to Class AAA Rochester and recalled righthander Kyle Waldrop after Manship gave up three more runs Wednesday against the White Sox, raising his ERA to 10.97.

Waldrop, who started the year on the disabled list because of a strained elbow, posted a 1.26 ERA in nine games for Rochester.

"Jeff's been kind of scuffling; I think we've all seen that," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "And Waldrop's back healthy, throwing the ball well. We'll see how he does up here."

Span OK after collision

Denard Span said he was shaken up after hitting his head against the center field wall, trying to make a leaping catch on A.J. Pierzynski's seventh-inning triple.

Span waved off Gardenhire and finished the seventh, but the manager removed him the next inning, with the White Sox leading 10-2.

"I probably could have finished the game, but the score was kind of out of hand," Span said. "I told [Gardenhire] that was a good idea to relax and kind of take the rest of the day off."

Asked which Twins players should be considered for the All-Star team, Gardenhire mentioned Span, Josh Willingham, Joe Mauer, Ben Revere, Jared Burton and Glen Perkins.

"I think Span Man might have been our best player in this first half, consistently getting it done," Gardenhire said. "Denard's played really well, and I'd sure like to see him go."


• The Twins acquired minor league pitcher Shairon Martis from the Pirates and assigned him to Class AA New Britain. Martis, 25, had a 4.96 ERA in 15 combined appearances for Pittsburgh's Class AA and Class AAA affiliates. He made 20 appearances for the Nationals between 2008 and '09.

• After striking out all three batters he faced Tuesday in his major league debut, Tyler Robertson fanned Alejandro De Aza on Wednesday, making it four consecutive K's, before giving up four consecutive base hits.

• Brian Dozier ended a streak of 143 plate appearances without a home run with a fifth- inning blast off Chris Sale.


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