CLEVELAND – Eddie Rosario knows he has an ally in his pursuit of the Twins’ rookie triples record: the record holder.
Rosario tripled twice on Friday and now has eight on the season, just one short of Tony Oliva’s franchise rookie record of nine, set in 1964. “I talk to Tony every day in Minnesota. He tells me, ‘Do it, do it,’ ” the 23-year-old outfielder said. “He’s happy for me.”
So is his manager Paul Molitor, who has been impressed with Rosario’s decisionmaking on the bases and his hustle in getting out of the batters box.
“We try to teach our players in development and the minor leagues to make their own decisions on the bases, for the most part. Your coaches are there to help you, and sometimes the ball is going to be behind you, so they’ll make the decision,” Molitor said. “But when you’re going from first to third or extend a double to triple, generally it’s your own call.”
Rosario is tied with John Castino, who had eight triples in 1978. Both Castino and Oliva were voted AL Rookie of the Year.
Rosario isn’t out for awards, he said. He’s just trying to be aggressive, without taking a bad risk. “When I get to second, I have to see the ball. But if I have a chance, I can go really hard,” he said. “It’s my game. I have to play hard, every day.”
Merritt supports Achter
Troy Merritt has never played golf with his wife’s cousin, Twins relief pitcher A.J. Achter, but he knows how many strokes he plans to spot him when they finally get that chance. “Zero. Zero strokes,” Merritt said. “He’s a professional athlete! I’ve played with [Padres pitcher] James Shields, and he says he’s a scratch golfer.”
Hmm. Doesn’t quite seem fair, considering that Merritt is a PGA Tour professional and last weekend won the Quicken Loans National in Washington, D.C., his first career PGA victory. Merritt, who is competing this week at the World Golf Classic-Bridgestone event in nearby Akron, drove to Progressive Field after Saturday’s round to visit his relative, who made his Twins debut the night before.
“It’s the second time I’ve missed seeing him pitch,” said Merritt, an Iowa native who started his college career at Winona State and has been married to Courtney (Achter) Merritt for five years.
Padres claim Thielbar
Caleb Thielbar was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres on Saturday and assigned to the Class AAA El Paso Chihuahuas in the Pacific Coast League. Before he left, though, the Northfield, Minn., native thanked the Twins for helping him get to the major leagues.
“I had a good conversation with him after I called to tell him,” said assistant general manager Rob Antony. “He’s very appreciative that we signed him out of indy ball [when he was with the St. Paul Saints], and said ‘I might have not have got another chance if not for you guys. I got a chance to pitch for the team I grew up cheering for.”
• Catcher Eric Fryer accepted an assignment to Class AAA Rochester after being cut by the Twins on Thursday.
• Class AAA catcher Josmil Pinto will begin playing with the Twins’ Gulf Coast League team in Fort Myers, Fla., on Monday, as he works his way back to Rochester. Pinto has missed two months with a concussion.
• Tommy Milone remains on track to return from an elbow sprain when he is eligible next Sunday, Antony said.