3/25/2014 5:18 P.M. ET
Prospect Pinto makes Twins as backup catcher
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Josmil Pinto's bat was too much for the Twins to pass up.
Pinto made the club as the backup catcher to Kurt Suzuki, as the Twins will carry two catchers to open the season.
Pinto, 24, still has to make improvements defensively, but he hit .342/.398/.566 with four homers, five doubles and 12 RBIs in 21 games as a September callup. It came after the Venezuela native hit .309/.400/.482 with 15 homers and 74 RBIs in 126 games between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester last season.
The Twins decided it was worth keeping Pinto on the big league roster for his bat even though he won't get the playing time he would've received as the everyday catcher for Rochester. The Twins also believe it'll be beneficial for Pinto to work with Suzuki and bench coach Terry Steinbach on his game-calling and defensive skills in the Majors.
"We're most comfortable with him as the other catcher," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He's got offense, I think he's improved some defensively and I think he can learn a lot from Steinbach and Suzuki just being around this club and being with the big league club."
Pinto said he was excited to make the team and is looking forward to improving his defense this season.
"I feel good," Pinto said. "This spring, I worked a lot. Kurt and I have a good relationship, so I've worked with him. And Steiny, he knows a lot about catching, so I'll be able to ask a lot of questions and learn from him."
Kubel makes Twins, to see time as DH/outfielder
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Outfielder Jason Kubel was informed by the Twins on Tuesday he made the team, and he will be added to the 25-man roster before the season starts on March 31 against the White Sox.
The Twins faced a Tuesday deadline to decide whether to put Kubel on the roster or give him a $100,000 retention bonus as an Article XX(B) free agent. But the Twins avoided the bonus by telling him he will be added to the roster, and he'll now receive a $2 million base salary.
Kubel, 31, is expecting to see time as a designated hitter and backup outfielder this season. He entered Tuesday's game against the Orioles hitting .212/.333/.333 with a homer and a double in 13 games. Kubel also went 5-for-8 over his previous three games.
"I believe he progressed during the spring and started taking better at-bats," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "I still believe he's a professional hitter with something left. He has the ability to drive in runs and provide offense."
It marks a return to the Twins for Kubel, who played in Minnesota from 2004-11 before signing a two-year deal with the D-backs before the '12 season. Kubel hit 30 homers and 30 doubles in 141 games in his first season with Arizona but struggled with injuries last year, hitting just .216/.293/.317 with five homers and nine doubles in 97 games with the D-backs and Indians.
Day after release, Guerrier re-signs with Twins
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It didn't take long for right-hander Matt Guerrier to re-join the Twins, as the day after he was given his unconditional release, he signed a Minor League deal to remain with the club on Tuesday.
Guerrier was given his release on Monday, as he was told by the Twins he would not make their Opening Day roster, so he wanted to explore his options for a Major League deal. The Twins also avoided having to pay Guerrier a $100,000 retention bonus by releasing him.
But Guerrier, who is coming off surgery to fix the flexor mass in his right elbow, decided to remain with the Twins and will begin the season at Triple-A Rochester. The contract has an opt-out date earlier than his original June 1 opt-out date, but Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony wouldn't get into specifics, although it's believed to be in early May.
"The whole point is that we want him to go down, and the out clause gives him reasonable time to get a look," Antony said. "If there are other guys ahead of him down there, there's no reason to keep him down there all year. But if he pitches well, we'll make the decision whether to bring him up to the big leagues."
Guerrier, 35, posted a 6.75 ERA in four innings this spring, but his last two outings were scoreless. He's healthy now but is still throwing mostly fastballs at this point, so he'll have time to progress with his offspeed pitches. He is expected to pitch in extended spring camp for at least a week before heading to Rochester.
"Everything was going in the right direction and his velocity is fine," Antony said. "He's in great shape. I know they love him down there in the clubhouse, but he was behind some of the guys we had now."
Twins trade righty Worley to Pirates for cash
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins traded right-hander Vance Worley to the Pirates for cash considerations, the club announced Tuesday.
Worley, who is out of Minor League options, was outrighted off the 40-man roster on Friday after going unclaimed on waivers. With Worley off the roster, the Pirates don't have to add him to their 40-man roster.
Worley, 26, posted a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts in his first season with the Twins last year, and he struggled again this spring with a 13.50 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances. He entered the spring in the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation but was placed on waivers after he gave up seven runs on 11 hits, including six doubles, against the Rays in his final Grapefruit League start on March 18.
Worley was Minnesota's Opening Day starter last season after he was acquired in the trade that also brought right-hander Trevor May to Minnesota from Philadelphia for outfielder Ben Revere.
Worley had a 3.50 ERA in 277 2/3 innings with the Phillies in his first three years of his career before being traded to the Twins.
Gardenhire likes what he sees from pitchers
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Pelfrey, Scott Diamond and Kyle Gibson all pitched so well during their three-inning stints in the Twins' 4-1 win over the Orioles on Tuesday that it caused Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to joke he'll start a new trend of using starting pitchers for three innings each during the regular season.
Pelfrey was originally scheduled to start in a Minor League game after his start Monday was rained out, but he ended up starting against the Orioles and was followed by Diamond and Gibson. Pelfrey and Gibson each tossed three scoreless innings, while Diamond gave up one run on two hits over three frames.
"We're gonna throw three starters every day for the rest of the year," Gardenhire joked. "I already told a couple guys in there, every third day you're going three innings. I told [closer Glen] Perkins to take a hike. We don't need him. But they were all crisp and threw the ball really nice. And we had some good defense behind them."
Pelfrey was solid on an extra day of rest, as the right-hander allowed just two hits over three scoreless innings and struck out four, including the side in the first inning.
"I feel good," Pelfrey said. "I have one more start here on Saturday and I'll pitch on short rest, but I feel good. Obviously, I'll take advantage of my next start and build up some arm strength."
Diamond and Gibson also fared well, but Gardenhire still hasn't announced who will be the fifth starter in the rotation, although Gibson is considered the front-runner. Gardenhire said he expects to have the roster finalized on Friday.
Diamond, who has a 5.29 ERA this spring, is out of Minor League options and will be exposed to waivers if he doesn't make the club. He could also be moved to the bullpen, but with fellow starter Samuel Deduno already pitching in relief, it doesn't appear likely.
"I think he knows even if he doesn't make it here, he'll get an opportunity somewhere else because starters are hard to find and he's had some success in the big leagues," Gardenhire said. "So we'll see what happens as we go along. He's worked his butt off and has been pitching well."
Gibson has fared better than Diamond this spring, posting a 2.20 ERA in five games. He struggled with a 6.53 ERA in his first 10 starts in the Majors last year, but Gibson believes he's learned from that experience and is ready for to succeed in the big leagues.
"I think I've been pretty satisfied," Gibson said. "I've made the adjustments I've needed to make and have been more aggressive. I've been making better quality pitches and not falling behind in the count."