“He brings some veteran presence and some leadership to the table,” Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said. “We will have to see what he looks like in spring training. It’s an opportunity for him. If it works out, it will give us an experienced guy who knows what he’s doing and with the ability to play shortstop.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will play Bartlett around the infield and outfield in spring training games to see if he can handle the role. Eduardo Escobar looms as his main competition. The utility role will be even more vital if the Twins take 13 pitchers north. That leaves a three-man bench.
“He’s going to take [fly balls] in the outfield too,” Gardenhire said. “I told him, ‘First baseman’s mitt, outfield glove. If you are going to make the club that’s what we have to do. You have to play around.’ You don’t have that many guys on the bench anymore. Got to have guys who can move around.”
Bartlett is lugging gloves all around spring training as he knocks off the rust following his 1½-year absence. And his wife better get ready to take over dropping the kids off at school. The old man feels young again.
“I haven’t seen a pitch in a year and a half, but that should come naturally in spring training,” he said. “I feel good man. I had lost that athleticism and that’s why I wasn’t having fun anymore. I’m now running around, doing jump throws. Where was this?
“It took a couple weeks, but I feel like the old Barty.”