Willians Astudillo labored for seven years in the minors before finally reaching the major leagues with the Twins.
But the work didn't stop there, as Astudillo has battled each of the past three seasons to maintain a spot on the roster.
And this season is no different. A catcher by trade, "La Tortuga," his nickname which means the turtle in Spanish, has versatility to play infield and outfield positions, with Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers likely to get most of the starts behind the plate.
Astudillo doesn't mind showing off his flexibility if it keeps him on the roster.
"I prefer that [rather] than being at home," Astudillo said. "I still have a job. At the end of the day, my work ethic will have the last word."
Throughout his career, Astudillo has played every position but shortstop, and could factor into the corner outfield spots this season. But he is keeping his head in his shell when it comes to his uncertain fate.
"That decision is out of my hands," he said. "I'm just going to take it day by day and do the best I can and, if I'm given the opportunity, we'll take it from there. I'm not expecting anything. I'm just working hard every day."
Griffin Jax pitched three scoreless innings Tuesday against Pittsburgh, then was assigned to minor league camp.
But for Jax, the experience was still a boost that has him hoping the Twins will see him as a viable option if needed this season.
"In the few games I've gotten to pitch in major league spring training, I've never really gotten to face a legit lineup," Jax said. "… It was great to get up there and get that confidence and see those guys and understand that I belong up here, that I can get outs."
The Air Force Academy graduate has endured several ups and downs in his young career, jugging his military commitment with trying to pursue big-league dreams. Throw in 2020 trying to pitch on his own while also planning a wedding, the pressure ramped up even more.
"There's definitely some anxiety when it comes to thinking about how my career's been up to this point," he said. "It's been definitely a unique and rocky road. But at the same time, I look at it as just something that's built my discipline and my passion for the game."
Jax added he took more than 1,000 hours of video on his phone and edited it all himself to show the Twins how he was progressing throughout 2020. At spring training, he's tried to show the team his consistency.
"I'm a guy that will pound the strike zone and get outs," Jax said. "I'm not going to go out there and walk the house. That's not who I am. So I need to keep going out there and just throwing a lot of strikes, a lot of quick innings, just get my team back out there in the box and let them hit."
• The Twins can option Lewis Thorpe to the minor leagues without passing through waivers, an arbitrator ruled Wednesday, a decision that could mean the lefthander spends the summer going back and forth between Target Field and CHS Field.
The long-awaited ruling on a pandemic-season technicality, that the month Thorpe spent on the Twins' roster in 2020 did not constitute a fifth "full season" as a professional, means that he is eligible for a fourth option year, one more than the usual three. The ability to option him to St. Paul means no other team can claim Thorpe if the Twins decide to do so.
Had the Twins not been granted a fourth option, they would have to keep Lewis on the roster all season or waive him and potentially lose him.
• Aaron Sutton, hired to manage the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, the Twins' low-Class A affiliate, last year before the season was canceled, and scheduled to finally take the reins next month, announced his retirement. Sutton said he was leaving in order to stop traveling, be with his wife and young son.
Staff writer Phil Miller contributed to this report.