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08/30/09 1:52 PM ET
Twins' callups to bring experience
Buscher, Tolbert, Swarzak have seen time in Minnesota
By Tyler Mason / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- With the Twins still chasing the Tigers in the American League Central, this year's September callups should provide depth to Minnesota's bench for a potential late-season push. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Sunday his list of players he expects to join the team on Tuesday includes infielders Brian Buscher and Matt Tolbert and pitcher Anthony Swarzak. All three have split time between Minnesota and Triple-A Rochester this season. Both Buscher and Tolbert have been battling injures of late, but Gardenhire expects both to be able to contribute to the big league club in September. "They're banged up right now," Gardenhire said. "One has a sore knee and one has a sore thumb. I know Buscher's been playing. We plan on definitely calling him back up. And Tolbert, we planned on him coming back up here -- a speed guy on the bench and another middle-infielder, play-everywhere guy." Buscher has seen his average drop to .183 in 21 games after going 1-for-4 Saturday for the Red Wings. Tolbert is hitting .295 and has played almost as many games in the outfield (20) as he has at second base (22). Swarzak made his Major League debut on May 23 against Milwaukee and made 12 starts with the Twins. He was sent back to Rochester in mid-June and called up again in early July. His second stint in the Majors was a rough one, as he went 1-5 with an 8.33 ERA in seven starts and was optioned to Rochester on Aug. 21. Still, Gardenhire said Swarzak should get another chance, and could possibly help Minnesota in the bullpen. Outside of Buscher, Tolbert and Swarak, though, Gardenhire said: "The rest is kind of up in the air." One player Gardenhire admitted he would like to see called up is third baseman Danny Valencia, who is hitting .296 with 38 RBIs this season with Rochester. And with Joe Crede currently on the disabled list, bringing up Valencia would give Minnesota another option at third base. "Would I like to see him? Absolutely," Gardenhire said. "Is it the right thing? They're telling me not right now." Instead of Valencia, Gardenhire said the Twins are more likely to go with a platoon of Buscher, Brendan Harris and Nick Punto at third. "We can't stick a rookie kid out there that's been a little unsettling at third base and not really swinging that great lately," Gardenhire said. "It's kind of tough. [Harris] is doing fine, and Buscher can come up and play some. You've got Nicky, you'll have Tolbert. We'll be able to mix and match until we get Crede back. When Crede comes back, he'll be playing."
Tyler Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.