The Twins are facing a Rochester team with a few players who could have plenty of motivation to do well against them today.
ByungHo Park tops the list. He looked like a lock to make the team after hitting .353 with six home runs this spring. But the Twins sent him down yesterday because they wanted a 13th pitcher on the staff. Teammates were stunned by the news. Park is batting cleanup today and could be aiming for a seventh spring homer.
Righthander Jose Berrios complicated his spring by pitching for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. He would have improved his chances of making the Twins if he had remained in camp, but he needs to stretch out and continue to work on the mechanical adjustments he needs to make so he can throw more strikes.
J.T. Chargois was disappointed when he was cut from camp, but he really didn't pitch well and the 97 mph fastball he had when he debuted last season has not been there. Still, there was time for him to rally, but the Twins sent him out with a week to go.
Buddy Boshers was given chances to get on a roll and make the team, but he posted a 10.61 ERA this spring.
Nick Tepesch posted a 4.41 ERA this spring and looked like a good fit as a long reliever. But the Twins decided to keep Rule 5 pick Justin Haley, who can strike out a few batters.
Alex Wimmers posted a 2.00 ERA and looked on the verge of making his first Opening Day roster. It would have been a cool story for the 28-year old Wimmers, who has been through a lot in his career. If he had been on the 40-man roster, he might have slid in front of Michael Tonkin, who had an uneven spring.
So there are a few players on Rochester who could be out to make a point today. The last time these teams met was in 2006, when Mike Redmond and Terry Tiffee got into a spat at home plate and a ticked-off Jason Bartlett went 4-for-5.
After this big brother-little brother moment, the Twins will leave Fort Myers and the curtains will be lowered on spring training 2017. They will work out on Sunday at Target Field then take on the Royals on Monday.
Kennys Vargas (left foot) is scheduled to play in a minor league game down the street. Vargas told me yesterday that his foot still bothers him when he runs, but a second exam on Thursday found no structural damage.
Phil Hughes is hanging back in the Fort Myers to face minor leaguers on Saturday before joining the club. That will keep him on line to be the fourth starter.
Zack Granite, CF
Niko Goodrum, SS
Matt Hague, 3B
ByungHo Park, 1B
Ben Paulsen, DH
Mitch Garver, C
Daniel Palka, LF
Ryan Strausborger, RF
Bengie Gonzalez, 2B
Jose Berrios, RHP
Brian Dozier, 2B
Max Kepler, RF
Byron Buxton, CF
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, 3B
Jason Castro, C
Jorge Polanco, SS
Eddie Rosario, LF
Robbie Grossman, DH
Kyle Gibson, RHP