Pitchers Deduno, Walters reassigned
The Twins moved closer to an Opening Day roster Tuesday when they assigned righthanders Samuel Deduno and P.J. Walters to the minor league camp.
Deduno, the World Baseball Classic hero for the champion Dominican Republic, returned with a sore left groin and hasn’t pitched since, killing his chances of going north with the team.
Walters has a 2.08 ERA this spring but didn’t make a start until Sunday. He needs to stretch out his arm to handle a 90-pitch workload.
That leaves 29 players in camp. Since three of those players — pitchers Tim Wood, Rafael Perez and Rich Harden — are injured, that means the live roster is 26. Only one more move needs to be made before Opening Day.
If the Twins go with 12 pitchers as expected, one will have to be demoted. It’s hard to see lefthander Tyler Robertson sticking in this scenario. But the injury to righthander Liam Hendriks — who suffered a bruised hand Tuesday during a game against Baltimore — could affect the Twins’ decision-making process.
Hicks earns his keep
It’s not unusual for teams to wait until June to call players up from the minors. That way, they can avoid having those players build enough service time to receive an extra year of salary arbitration — called Super Two status.
To determine a player’s Super Two status, take all players who have between two and three years of service time. The highest 22 percent of that group gets the extra year of arbitration — and more earnings in the long run.
Teams have been known to delay promoting prospects to avoid potential Super Two status. If a team waits until June before calling up a prospect, in most cases, they can avoid that issue.
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan, however, was emphatic in denying that service time is ever an issue when considering promoting prospects such as Aaron Hicks, who won the starting center field job in spring training after playing last season at Class AA New Britain.
“The guy has earned it,” Ryan said of Hicks. “I find it almost humorous that people are talking about service time, starting the clock. We didn’t trade [Denard] Span and [Ben] Revere to stall the next guy.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made sure, after the trades of Span and Revere, that he would be allowed to take Hicks north if he earned the job. Hicks won the battle, hitting .379 with 18 RBI and 18 runs scored this spring.
• The Twins swapped minor leaguers with Houston, sending righthander Gonzalo Sanudo to the Astros for outfielder Mike Kvasnicka, a former Gophers and Lakeville North standout. Kvasnicka batted .232 with 15 homers and 53 RBI at Class A Lexington last season.
Righthander Vance Worley will start in Bradenton against the Pirates. Righthander A.J. Burnett will start for Pittsburgh. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III