Righthander Alex Burnett paid the price for his poor spring, as the Twins optioned him to Class AAA Rochester to work out some kinks Wednesday.
Burnett spent most of 2011 and all of 2012 with the Twins. Last season he got off to a strong start but posted a 5.49 ERA over his final 19 appearances to finish 4-4 with a 3.52 ERA.
On Wednesday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said: “It kind of carried over into spring training. Not too many clean innings.’’
Burnett posted a 7.56 ERA in seven appearances during camp, including a couple solid outings recently. He also dealt with a blister on his right foot.
“We told Alex that he has to firm some things up,’’ Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. “It was a tough call.’’
The Twins declined to announce their final roster, but it appears as if their pitching staff has been sorted out. Technically, there are 15 pitchers in camp, but Tim Wood (sore shoulder), Rafael Perez (shoulder surgery) and Rich Harden (major shoulder surgery) are all injured.
That leaves a bullpen of lefthanders Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing and Tyler Robertson and righthanders Jared Burton, Josh Roenicke, Ryan Pressly and Casey Fien. Pressly is a Rule 5 draftee.
When asked if Robertson, who has struggled some this spring, had made the team, Ryan would only say: “We can go either way with that. As you know, we haven’t announced anything yet. No one has made the team because you never know when injuries enter the equation. He’s still here and is in a good position.’’
With temperatures expected to be in the mid-30s next week, there’s the possibility that it might be too cold to play baseball on Opening Day.
Major League Baseball schedules an off day following Opening Day just in case of a postponement. Is Tuesday in play in the Twin Cities, where winter refuses to leave?
“Not likely,’’ Twins President Dave St. Peter wrote in an e-mail. “Tuesday’s forecast is only marginally better. We will continue to monitor, but as of today the plan is to play on Monday.’’
Opening Day at Target Field could be a celebration of radiant heat.
Lefthander Scott Diamond is scheduled to throw four innings Thursday on the minor league side as he continues to build arm strength after having a bone chip removed from his elbow during the offseason.
Righthander Kevin Correia will make his final start of spring training when he faces the Red Sox on Thursday at jetBlue Park. Righthander Clay Buchholz will start for Boston. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. The game is on FSN.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III