FORT MYERS, FLA. — With two days left in Florida, the Twins are down to their final roster decisions, at least for the remainder of April. On Sunday, the team assigned four players — outfielder Jake Cave, lefthanders Jovani Moran and Devin Smeltzer and righthander Jake Faria — to the St. Paul Saints, and revealed that Cody Stashak will likely start the season on the injured list, leaving 31 active players in camp.
MLB rosters are limited to 28 players until May 1, so the Twins have three cuts remaining, and it's entirely possible they will wait until Wednesday to make their decision final. Outfielders Brent Rooker and Kyle Garlick, utility players Nick Gordon and Daniel Robertson, catcher Jose Godoy, and pitchers Danny Coulombe, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, Jhon Romero and Josh Winder figure to be the players most curious about their status. The Twins can keep seven of them, presuming they don't claim another player off waivers this week as other teams make their final cuts.
"We have a pretty good idea of who's going to be on the roster right now," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "We've started to tell some of them [that they've made the team], and some of them we haven't. And we still have a couple of things that we're still deciding upon."
Some of those decisions involve the shape of the roster more than the identity of the player. For instance, do the Twins keep a third catcher? And how many outfielders can they carry?
Gordon, Duran and Coulombe figure to be the safest bets for roster spots, based on strong play this spring. Then again, Smeltzer "handled his business this spring, and everything in his control was well done," Baldelli said of the lefthander who didn't allow a run in 11 Grapefruit League innings this spring, yet found himself demoted when the Twins decided to go with veterans Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer to start the season.
The Twins are closely watching weather forecasts this week, particularly the one that predicts rain or perhaps snow on Thursday and temperatures in the high 30s or low 40s. That's supposed to be Opening Day at Target Field, but there is an off day built into the schedule on Friday, when temperatures are expected to be at least 5 degrees higher and the playing surface dry. Moving the opener, something that has never happened in Target Field's 12 seasons, is a possibility.
With the weather so uncertain, the Twins are indeed going to leave at least one pitcher in Florida for an extra day or two to pitch a simulated game in Florida heat. Baldelli wouldn't reveal yet who it is, though Archer seems the prime candidate, given that he pitched on Saturday.
Stashak will also remain in Florida, Baldelli said, as he deals with a case of tendonitis in his bicep, a condition that has kept him off the mound for more than a week.
Mike Radcliff, who has scouted for the Twins for 35 years, was inducted into the Professional Scouts Hall of Fame before Sunday's game.
"I'm no Cal Ripken," Radcliff joked, "but I'm very proud to say that I worked for only one team my entire career."
The Twins' vice president of player personnel, Radcliff was responsible for drafting Joe Mauer, Chuck Knoblauch, Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter, among others.