Ron Gardenhire grew impatient during spring training, waiting for Oswaldo Arcia’s intercostal muscle to heal. “He’s one of my favorite players,” the Twins’ manager said in March. “I want to see him swing.”
Now Gardenhire will get a chance to watch Arcia swing in a regular-season game.
The Venezuelan outfielder will be added to the Twins’ 25-man roster on Monday, taking the place of Wilkin Ramirez, who is on paternity leave for three games. Arcia left Class AAA Rochester — for which he was hitting .414 with three home runs in his first nine games — on Sunday and flew to Minneapolis, where he will be in uniform for Monday night’s game against the Angels.
Arcia’s arrival gives Twins fans a sneak preview of a player considered one of the team’s future cornerstones. Already rated as Minnesota’s third-best prospect by Baseball America, Arcia has rocketed through the minor league system; he played only 20 games at low-A Beloit in 2011, 69 games at Class AA New Britain last summer, and is headed to the majors after nine games in Class AAA.
It probably will be a brief stay, however. Ramirez, who left the team Saturday after his wife went into labor, is due back with the Twins later this week. Arcia, who has played right field and served as designated hitter for the Red Wings (and was a center fielder three years ago), could play in three games before Ramirez’s three-game roster waiver expires.
Arcia, a Venezuelan power hitter who slugged 36 doubles and 17 home runs at Class A and AA last season, turns 22 next month. He was the youngest member of his team at Elizabethton, Beloit, Fort Myers, New Britain and Rochester, and will become the youngest Twin since Francisco Liriano, 29 days younger than Arcia at the time, made his debut on Sept. 5, 2005.
He’s also the youngest position player on the Twins since Joe Mauer made his major league debut at age 21 in 2004.