Struggling Dozier sent to Rochester

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 15, 2012 - 7:17 AM

Minnesota Twins' shortstop Brian Dozier is charged with a throwing error on Chicago White Sox's Alex Rios' grounder, which allows Adam Dunn to score in the 1st inning at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday, July 24, 2012.

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The Twins still think Brian Dozier can become a solid all-around major league shortstop, but the rookie hasn't lived up to his promise this year.

So after Tuesday night's 8-4 loss to the Tigers, the Twins optioned Dozier to Class AAA Rochester, promoting Rochester infielder Pedro Flor- imon to take his roster spot.

"It's pretty tough, to be honest with you," said Dozier, who batted .234 with six home runs and a .271 on-base percentage and committed 15 errors in 84 games.

Asked if he saw the move coming, Dozier said, "Yes and no. I'd have sent me down because I haven't been playing the way I know how to play."

Twins officials have been debating this move for weeks, but manager Ron Gardenhire didn't seem thrilled when it happened, deferring questions to assistant general manager Rob Antony.

"First off with Brian, he's a rookie," Antony said. "He's had his good days, he's had his tough days, and basically he just needs to go down and play every day. He's got to work on his defense. But he also needs to be a little more consistent offensively.

"He'll have some good games, but he gives away too many at-bats, and I think he's taking too many defensive swings. It's just an opportunity for him to go down, relax, get his confidence back, play every day, and work his way back up here."

Dozier hadn't played since Sunday, when he made a much-scrutinized throw to first base in the 10th inning, as Tampa Bay scored the go-ahead run.

"I'm not worried about [the effect of that play on Dozier]," Gardenhire said before Tuesday's game. "We've talked in detail about everything. Now he's just going about his business out there, doing his work."

Florimon can play shortstop, second base or third base and was batting .251 for Rochester. General Manager Terry Ryan was in Rochester, N.Y., watching the Red Wings play on Tuesday before making the move.

Teams can expand their active rosters by Sept. 1, so there's a strong chance Dozier will be back soon.

"If we didn't think he could be an everyday guy, we could just move him to the bench so we could put him in the utility role and play other guys ahead of him," Antony said. "We want him to go down and play every day because we still believe he has an opportunity to be a starter for us."

Capps update

Matt Capps, who has been out since July 16 because of irritation in his right rotator cuff, had hoped to be throwing by Wednesday, but he knew that might be optimistic.

On Tuesday, he said his new goal is to be throwing by next week, though he knows he probably won't return to a mound until at least mid-September.

"The only thing worse than not coming back right away would be coming back and hurting myself worse or coming back and not performing the way I know I can," Capps said.

Etc.

Anthony Swarzak (mild right rotator cuff strain) is expected to come off the disabled list in time for Friday's game in Seattle, Antony said. Swarzak had another pain-free bullpen session Tuesday.

Denard Span (sore neck) was out for the second game in a row and probably won't play until Friday at the earliest, Gardenhire said.

P.J. Walters (right shoulder inflammation) pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on two hits with 41 pitches, in his third rehab start for Rochester.

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