9/1/2014 1:41 P.M. ET
Hicks among eight callups joining Twins on Tuesday
Minnesota to add position depth, fresh arms to bullpen as rosters expand
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- The Twins announced Monday that they plan to bring up eight September callups once they return home to Target Field on Tuesday against the White Sox.
The Twins will call up outfielder Aaron Hicks, catcher Josmil Pinto, catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann, left-hander Logan Darnell and right-hander Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester, which was eliminated from playoff contention Sunday night.
In addition, they'll select the contracts of infielder Doug Bernier and right-handers A.J. Achter and Lester Oliveros from Rochester. The addition of those three means the 40-man roster is full, as the Twins created a roster spot by outrighting left-hander Edgar Ibarra off the roster.
"It's some fresh arms for our bullpen," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Some of these guys went down and showed what they could do and now they're back up here. We need some bodies. We've had three guys on the bench for an awful long time here. So this will be huge to get some fresh people up here."
Hicks is the most notable callup, as the former top prospect fared better in the Minors after struggling in the Majors for a second straight season, hitting .198/.338/.262 with one homer and five doubles in 48 games before suffering a right shoulder strain and being optioned to Double-A New Britain in late June.
Hicks hit .286/.381/.438 with five homers and 16 doubles in 66 games between New Britain and Triple-A Rochester. Gardenhire said he plans on using Hicks in all three outfield spots, which will give him more flexibility and more opportunities for regular center fielder Danny Santana to play his natural position of shortstop.
"We wanted a center fielder up here with the situation with Santana because we wanted flexibility," said Twins general manager Terry Ryan, who scouted Rochester throughout the week. "The times I did see Hicks play, he's improved and has been taking better at-bats. I decided it was time to get him back up here to be re-acclimated to the Major Leagues to see how he responds. I think he's matured quite a bit."
Pinto, Herrmann, Darnell and Tonkin also saw time with the Twins earlier this season. Pinto will see time behind the plate, but his time at designated hitter could be limited with the emergence of Kennys Vargas, while Herrmann will give the club flexibility because of his ability to catch and play the outfield. Darnell will be used in long relief, while Tonkin gives the Twins another hard-throwing reliever to use late in games.
Ryan said Pinto's defense has improved behind the plate, and the Twins will try to find ways to get his bat into the lineup after he hit .279/.376/.457 at Rochester.
"He's improved back there with the blocking, receiving, calling the games and framing," Ryan said. "There's still some work to be done but I thought he had a nice go of it down there."
Bernier was rewarded for a solid season with Rochester, as the 34-year-old infielder was named the team's Most Valuable Player after hitting .280/.349/.398 in 123 games. He played in 33 games with the Twins last season.
"He was recommended highly by every guy down there," Gardenhire said. "Bernie does everything you ask of him. He probably should've been up here earlier this summer."
Achter, a 46th round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, is the lone player coming up without any Major League experience. And Oliveros has bounced back from Tommy John surgery to post a 1.67 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
"His velocity is back where he's throwing mid 90s," Gardenhire said. "So he earned it."
Ryan said the Twins also considered reliever Stephen Pryor, who was acquired in the trade that sent Kendrys Morales to the Mariners, but he's coming off surgery to repair a torn right latissimus dorsi muscle so they wanted to be cautious. Pryor has a 0.89 ERA at Rochester.
"He did a nice job and under different circumstances I would've brought him up," Ryan said. "The finality of the Triple-A season was probably enough for him coming off that surgery."
Additionally, the Twins announced Triple-A hitting coach Tim Doherty will be joining the Twins on Tuesday before being replaced by Triple-A manager Gene Glynn on Sept. 15.