Twins add four players to 40-man roster

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Max Kepler - Arizona Fall League - Glendale Desert Dogs.

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The Twins added first baseman Kennys Vargas, infielder Jorge Polanco, outfielder Max Kepler and lefthander Logan Darnell to their 40-man roster, which had to be submitted to the league Wednesday.

They also outrighted righthander B.J. Hermsen off the roster, leaving them with 39 players on it. This gives the Twins flexibility to add a player through a trade, free agency or the Rule 5 draft.

Players who are eligible to be put on the 40-man roster but not on it are exposed for selection in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings next month. Righthander A.J. Achter was one player the Twins could have added but chose not to.

Vargas, Polanco, Kepler and Darnell will report to major league camp in February. Twins pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Feb. 16, with their first workout slated for the following day. Position players report Feb. 21, with full-squad workouts beginning Feb. 22.

Darnell, a 24-year-old starter, went 6-6 with a 2.61 ERA at Class AA New Britain and 4-4 with a 4.26 ERA at Class AAA Rochester this past season. He throws in the low 90-miles-per-hour range with a solid slider.

Vargas, 23, hit .267 with 19 homers and 93 RBI at Class A Fort Myers.

Polanco, 20, batted .308 at Class A Cedar Rapids. The Twins have been pleasantly surprised by his offense and will give him a chance to prove he can stick at shortstop.

Kepler, 20, got a late start last season because of a strained elbow and then struggled at Cedar Rapids, batting .237 with nine homers and 40 RBI in 61 games. Then he hit .234 in 18 games in the Arizona Fall League. He needs a big season, but he remains one of the better prospects in the Twins system. He remains an outfielder but will work at first base some.

Also, the Twins signed several players to minor league contracts with an invitation to spring training: Righthanders Deolis Guerra and Lester Oliveros; lefthander Aaron Thompson; outfielders Jermaine Mitchell, Chris Rahl and Wilkin Ramirez; infielders Jason Bartlett, James Beresford, Doug Bernier and Deibinson Romero; and catcher Dan Rohlfing. And they signed righthander Virgil Vazquez to a minor league contract.

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