NEW ULM, MINN. – Rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic should be released this week, and the Twins expect to see some of their players leave spring training to take part in the event.
Team Puerto Rico, in particular, looks to tap into the Twins for a few players. Manager Paul Molitor said Monday he expects righthander Jose Berrios, outfielder Eddie Rosario and first baseman Kennys Vargas to play for the team. Lefthander Hector Santiago is expected to be chosen for the team as well.
“It’s a great opportunity for them,” Molitor said during the Twins winter caravan’s stop at New Ulm.
The Twins have not received any indication of how much Berrios, 22, will be used. Berrios, who made two appearances for Puerto Rico in the 2013 WBC, pitched 166⅓ innings in 2015 and 169⅔ in 2016. Under new rules this year, teams will be allowed to add two pitchers after each round. That would make it easier for stars such as Clayton Kershaw to participate, and it would mean teams wouldn’t have to rely on pitchers such as Berrios throughout the tournament.
As for other Twins players, designated hitter Byung Ho Park still is deciding if he is going to play for South Korea; Eduardo Escobar is expected to fill a utility role for Team Venezuela; Ervin Santana will not pitch for the Dominican Republic; and second baseman Brian Dozier was not selected to play for Team USA, despite hitting 42 home runs last season.
Because of the WBC, spring training camps are opening earlier. Twins pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14.
WBC pool play begins March 6, with the championship game March 22 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
New facility opening
The Twins and Phillies will open a $20 million training facility in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Each team will have three fields, one agility field and a dormitory that will hold up to 78 prospects. The teams will share some operational costs.
Twins General Manager Thad Levine is in Boca Chica for the ceremony. Santana, Jorge Polanco and Danny Santana will be on hand, and Miguel Sano might join them.
It will be the final official Twins event for executive Bill Smith, their former GM who served as a special assistant to the president and general manager last season. Smith is leaving the club at the end of the month.
• Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey is in Fort Myers, Fla., as the club prepares to hold meetings for all its scouts — the “scout summit” — this week at their year-round headquarters.
• While the Twins avoided arbitration with righthander Brandon Kintzler by agreeing to a one-year, $2.925 million contract, the sides never discussed more than a one-year deal.