CLEARWATER, FLA. – The Twins are expected to meet with righthander Jose Berrios on Friday, when there’s a good chance the 22-year-old will be informed that he won’t break camp with the team.
Berrios has spent more than two weeks pitching for the Puerto Rican team at the World Baseball Classic. The Twins had hoped that Berrios would remain on a progression to build arm strength for the regular season. But he pitched in only two games, posting a 8.10 ERA. After throwing 62 pitches on March 12 against Italy, Berrios threw 40 pitches Wednesday in relief during the 8-0 loss to Team USA in the championship game in Los Angeles.
The Twins will likely be careful with Berrios and make sure his arm is ready for 100 pitches or so.
“Before I would say that,” manager Paul Molitor said. “I would like to talk to him.”
The Twins expect their Puerto Rican contingent from the World Baseball Classic to be available to play on Friday night against Baltimore.
In fact, Molitor plans to have designated hitter Kennys Vargas and outfielder Eddie Rosario in the starting lineup against the Orioles. Opening Day starter Ervin Santana, who left camp for about a week to make a start for the Dominican Republic in the WBC, is scheduled to start Friday. So everything will be back to normal — or as normal as it can be — as the Twins reach the final stretch of camp.
“It helps that they are here,” Molitor said. “I don’t have a specific timetable as to when the 25-man roster will be announced. But I would kind of like to have at least a few days where everyone knows where they are at. We’ll just evaluate and see where these guys are at and make decisions. It’s going to be tough.”
There’s still time for the Twins to make adjustments, but the rotation currently sets up in the following order: Santana, Hector Santiago, Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes, then the winner of the race for the No. 5 spot. Santiago, like Berrios, Rosario and Vargas, played for Puerto Rico in the WBC.
Berrios is in line to pitch the same day as Hughes, so a decision will be made as to who will get to face minor leaguers on Monday.
“To be determined,” Molitor said.
• German media have been following outfielder Max Kepler this week and they view him as potentially the first baseball star from Germany. “We are going to enjoy the next few stages of his development,” Molitor said. Kepler was 0-for-2 with a walk in Thursday’s 4-2 victory over Philadelphia.
• First baseman Trey Vavra, son of bench coach Joe Vavra, came along to Clearwater as an extra player and made a diving stop of a hot grounder from Logan Moore to strand two Phillies runners in the eighth. “Play of the game,” Joe Vavra said.
Santana will start as the Twins play host to Baltimore. Mike Wright will go for Baltimore. The game will be televised on Fox Sports North.
La VELLE E. NEAL III