La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins make cuts, trim roster to 40

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 16, 2014 - 8:29 AM

The Twins cut eight players from camp this morning  - lethander Kris Johnson, catcher Eric Fryer and shortstop Danny Santana were optioned to Class AAA Rochester. Lefthander Sean Gilmartin, outfielder Darin Mastroianni, outfielder Jermaine Mitchell, infielder James Beresford and third baseman Brandon Waring were assigned to the minor league camp.

The only mild surprise here was Mastroianni, who came to camp with a chance to be an extra outfielder. He batted .231 and made at least one poor throw from the outfield in spring training games.  His departure pretty much means that Alex Presley and Aaron Hicks will make the team because they are the only outfielders left in camp with range.

Santana didn't have a  real chance to make the club out of spring training but did impress with his skill set. Unfortunately for him, he also showed why he committed 32 errors at Class AA New Britain last season. He made defensive mistakes in three straight games last week, which the coaching staff didn't miss. Still he could be called up if something happens to Pedro Florimon.

I guess Santana's departure means that the Twins are somewhat confident that Florimon will be ready by Opening Day. Florimon will play five innings today down on the minor league complex as he whips himself into shape following surgery to remove his appendix at the start of camp. Look for him to make his Twins spring debut either tomorrow or Tuesday.

Hicks is going to join Florimon on the minor league side as well, as he looks to get a few extra at-bats in. Hicks started camp a little behind, as a sore elbow kept him out of the first week-and-a-half of games,

Twins are playing a split squad of Marlins today. The rest of the team is in Panama playing the Yankees as part of a fundraising weekend for Mariano Rivera's foundation.

Marlins

Donovan Solano, SS
Rob Brantly, C
Jeff Baker, 3B
Marcell Ozuna, LF
Ty Wigginton, 1B
Brian Bogusevic, CF
Reed Johnson, RF
Viosergy Rosa, DH
Justin Bohn, 2B

Pitching: KEVIN SLOWEY, RHP

Twins

Alex Presley, CF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Josh Willingham, LF
Jason Kubel, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Eduardo Escobar, SS

Pitching: Ricky Nolasco, RHP

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