FORT MYERS, FLA. – Shortstop J.T. Riddle is not alone among 29-year-old journeymen attempting to gain favorable attention from the Twins during the exhibition schedule. Kyle Garlick is an outfielder with 70 big-league at-bats in six pro seasons of varied length.
Garlick has a couple of advantages over Riddle. He's already on the 40-man big-league roster, and he's already gained that attention with an early power display.
He's a thick, 6-foot-1 righthanded hitter. He's had two home runs, a two-run double and six RBI in 10 at-bats in exhibitions.
It took five years in college, four at Oregon and then 2015 at Division II Cal Poly Pomona, to get drafted in the 28th round by the Dodgers. He made it to the big leagues for 48 at-bats in 2019, a season in which he had 23 home runs and 59 RBI in 81 games at Class AAA Oklahoma City.
The Dodgers released him, Philadelphia claimed him, and Garlick had 22 at-bats in 2020 for the Phillies. Then this: Designated for assignment by Philadelphia on Jan. 18, claimed by Atlanta on Jan. 22, DFA'd by Atlanta and claimed by the Twins on Feb. 11.
Garlick said when he was claimed by Atlanta, it was the "same old thing,'' saying they were excited to have him, giving him a rundown on reporting dates, and then he was a Minnesota Twin.
"It's been a bit of a roller-coaster ride, getting DFA'd a couple of times this offseason,'' Garlick said last week. "I think the Twins are a good fit.''
Garlick is an outfielder known for his bat. Brent Rooker is 26 now and has to be the leading contender among righthanded-hitting outfielders known for their bat.
Asked about possibly opening the season with the Twins, Garlick said: "I know the competition I'm going up against. They seem like a good group of guys and very talented. I try not to think about it too much, and just go out and do my thing.''
On Sunday, his thing was to rip a double into the left-field corner that came with a sound off the bat that was difficult to ignore.
Garlick has a minor league option remaining. The Twins' true interest in him will be clear when they are looking for spots on the 40-man roster in order to add a couple of spring training invitees to the Opening Day 26.
If Garlick stays on the 40-man then, his power will have piqued the interest of baseball boss Derek Falvey and his brainiacs.