The Twins on Sunday reassinged five players to the minor league camp: infielders Engelb Vielma and Heiker Meneses, outfielder Reynaldo Rodriguez, righthander Jake Reed and catcher Alex Swim. Rodriguez will leave camp this week, anyway, to play for Mexico in World Baseball Classic qualifiers.
The club was expected to cut more players on Sunday, but decided to wait until Monday morning to do so. As of now, 59 players remain in camp, 19 of them non-roster invites. Head they were going to cut as many as 12 today but will finish today. There was a presentation Sunday morning at the minor league facility that several officials attended that cut into their time.
Four Twins pitchers made appearnaces in a minor league games played on the back fields of the CenturyLink Sports Complex on Sunday.
Righthander Tyler Duffey threw 59 pitches over four innings and gave up two earned runs on four hits with one strikeout. Duffey said he felt good on the mound as he worked on throwing his changeup, a pitch he plans to throw a lot this season.
``Location was a little off on the fastball, but that's still coming,'' he said.
Glen Perkins, Kevin Jepsen and Casey Fien each pitched a scoreless inning in the minor league game. Expect more Twins to head down to play in minor league spring training games, either to get extra at bats or to keep on a pitching schedule.
Duffey was raving about shortstop Niko Goodrum, who apparently has added 20 pounds of muscle during the offseason. Goodrum is 25 but finally made it to Class AA Chattanooga last season, where he hit .244 in 61 games. Goodrum's father is a big man. Goodrum was skinny when the Twins made him a second round pick in 2010. They have waited for him to fill out, and he finally has. The question is what will he do with the newfound frame?
Byron Buxton began the day batting .167 but lined a double off the left field wall in the second inning, his hardest hit ball of the spring. The Twins are waiting for the highly-touted Buxton to put his skills into play, and Molitor thinks the young outfielder is starting to figure some things out at the plate.
``I think he's seeing the ball better,'' Molitor said. ``Recognition has been better. That is going to be a huge part of how quickly he's gong to be able to develop offensively. Bat speed and all those types of things.
``The better he gets at doing that. we're going to see him begin to fullfill some of the expectations people have for him. He hit that ball very crisply.''
Buxton appeared to made a heady play in the second when he tagged up at second on Joe Mauer's fly ball and took off for second when center fielder Joey Rickard paused before throwing the ball in. Molitor was pleased Buxton made it to third, but felt he should have been more aggressive and had taken off right away..
``I told him, `if he throws you out there, it's a 3-3 game in the second,' '' Molitor said. `` `You're trying to advance to third with less than two outs. For me, that's the right play. The guy respected your speed enoight to where he wasn't going to throw it.''
Probably the weakest part of Buxton's game is his baserunning. He doesn't get good reads or jumps when stealing bases, as if he's a little timid.
``Some of that fear he exibits in basestealing we don't want to see in the other parts of his baserunning,'' Molitor said.