The first-year player draft has come and gone, but there’s another big date coming up on the calendar — and the Twins hope to land another potential impact player.
The international signing period begins on July 2, and the Twins remain in a good spot to land power-hitting shortstop prospect Wander Javier, according to a source with knowledge of the Twins’ interest. Javier, from the Dominican Republic, has plus power potential, and many scouts believe he is a true shortstop — although there are a few who think he will fill out and have to move to third base. For now, he’s a power-hitting prospect at a premium position, which makes him popular.
Reports have Javier’s price tag at $4 million, which would surpass the $3.15 million the Twins signed Miguel Sano for in 2009 as the largest bonus they have given an international prospect.
If Javier does cost the Twins $4 million, that’s more than the Twins’ assigned international bonus pool of $3,948,500. They would have to pay a 100 percent tax on the amount they are over, which is $51,500.
Indications are that the Twins aren’t afraid to pay the tax because it’s so small.
This year’s Latin American class is considered a strong one. If the Twins wanted to sign more players than Javier, then they would have to trade for more bonus money, which is allowed.
May follows the leaders
The starting rotation has led the way during the Twins’ recent turnaround. The past three starters, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey and Tommy Milone, combined to post a 1.17 ERA during the three-game streak.
Trevor May was up on Saturday. While he couldn’t match his predecessors in dominance, he made up for it with clutch pitching.
May established his fastball early, used his curveball to get ahead in the count and fired sliders late to finish off hitters. He threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 26 batters he faced. The only run off him came on a squibbed RBI double by Anthony Rizzo in the second.
He needed double plays to help in the fourth and fifth. He allowed the first two batters of the sixth to reach, struck out two and walked Chris Denorfia to load the bases before striking out David Ross to end the inning. He gave up one run over six innings on seven hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.
“He made the big pitch when he needed to,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said. “He got out of some jams. And that’s the difference between him this year and last year.”
• The Twins will hold their annual open tryouts at 8 a.m. Sunday at Siebert Field. Anyone interested must be at least 18 years old.
• Catcher Josmil Pinto, out with a concussion since June 11, is doing better. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said the hope is he can begin some baseball-related activities soon.
• Eduardo Nunez, who was hit on both hands while swinging at a pitch on Friday, was sore on Saturday but available off the bench.
• Joe Mauer was under the weather on Saturday but was able to be the DH. He was 0-for-1 with three walks.
• Ricky Nolasco (impingement in right ankle) won’t receive his orthotics until Monday, but the Twins hope they work well enough for him to throw in the bullpen on Wednesday.
•Ryan said Aaron Hicks’ progress with his right forearm strain has been a little slow. Hicks is only doing light throwing for now but hopes to add to his workload early next week.