FORT MYERS, FLA. – The purge has been delayed.
The Twins didn’t announce a slew of roster moves Sunday, as was expected. They did release outfielder Drew Stubbs and reassigned Drew Rucinski to the minor league camp. But that leaves the Twins with 41 players in camp, and 16 must go.
“We’re a little behind,” manager Paul Molitor said.
The Twins did inform infielder Bengie Gonzalez, first baseman Ben Paulsen and third baseman Matt Hague that they will not make the team but will remain in camp as extra players.
Molitor said injuries, the travel schedule and competition for jobs are among reasons for the Twins being unable to settle on a roster.
“We’ve got it narrowed down,” Molitor said. “We’ve got some ideas here, and we are getting close to finalizing some stuff.”
The Twins still are deliberating on who the No. 5 starter will be, at least two bullpen spots and the composition of the bench.
Stubbs, a great athlete who doesn’t hit much, had a clause in his contract that he could leave if he wasn’t placed on the roster by Sunday. He asked for and was given his release.
Rucinski, signed as a free agent during the offseason, gave up six earned runs over 8 ⅓ innings.
The best players don’t always make the Opening Day roster. Sometimes, the healthier ones make the team. So late March injuries can be impactful.
Robbie Grossman, out because of a sore right groin muscle, is close to returning. One last hurdle: running the bases, which could happen Monday. Grossman, the favorite to be the backup outfielder, should be ready by Opening Day.
“I’m hoping he will be ready to play by Wednesday,” Molitor said.
Ehire Adrianza strained his right oblique muscle Saturday and remained sore Sunday. Adrianza is batting .303 this spring and has played solid defense. Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana were the favorites to win spots on the four-man bench, and their chances increase even more with Adrianza’s injury.
Kennys Vargas was scheduled for light running Sunday, but he’s going to need a couple of more days to recover after fouling a ball off his left foot Saturday.
Molitor said the injuries to Grossman, Vargas and Adrianza have “forced us to buy a little more time.”
Glen Perkins, rehabilitating from shoulder surgery, met with team officials about the next phase of his recovery. He’s still building arm strength and likely will be placed on the 60-day disabled list in the coming days. That would free up a 40-man roster spot for someone such a ByungHo Park, Chris Gimenez or Nick Tepesch to be added.
• Vargas, Jose Berrios and Eddie Rosario — teammates on the Puerto Rican World Baseball Classic team — have been battling the flu in recent days.
• Rosario was 3-for-3 Sunday against Boston and is 5-for-6 since his return.
Phil Hughes will start for the Twins as they face Pittsburgh at Bradenton, facing Ivan Nova.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III