Top prospect Lewis among Twins' roster moves 

March 28th, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins reassigned 15 non-roster invitees to the Minor Leagues on Thursday to significantly trim down their camp roster ahead of the freeze on transactions that was implemented on Friday as part of the agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Most notably, Minnesota's top three prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline -- shortstop Royce Lewis (No. 1), outfielder Alex Kirilloff (No. 2) and outfielder Trevor Larnach (No. 3) -- were all assigned to the Minors. They were joined by fellow Top 30 prospects Ryan Jeffers (No. 6), Brent Rooker (No. 12), Edwar Colina (No. 16) and Ben Rortvedt (No. 28).

The Twins also reassigned pitchers Charlie Barnes, Sam Clay, Blaine Hardy, Griffin Jax and Jake Reed, along with catcher Caleb Hamilton, infielder Drew Maggi and first baseman Zander Wiel.

The club previously announced on Thursday that pitcher Sean Poppen and outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. had been optioned to Triple-A Rochester. The moves impacting the non-roster players were also official on Thursday before the implementation of the roster freeze, but the club didn't announce those transactions until late Friday night.

The Twins now have 38 players on the 40-man roster, including nine non-roster invitees. Hardy was the only player with Major League service time reassigned as part of the moves.

Kirilloff and Larnach, both first-round Draft selections considered to be nearing the Major Leagues, were among the most productive players in Spring Training. Kirilloff hit .429/.455/.810 with two homers in 10 games, while Larnach tied Nelson Cruz for the club lead with three homers in Grapefruit League action. Lewis got off to a slow start, but he was heating up in the later days of camp, with two homers and a double across spring play.

Hardy undergoes Tommy John surgery
Not only was Hardy reassigned, but he is also expected to miss the 2020 season after he underwent Tommy John surgery on his left (throwing) elbow last Friday. The procedure was performed by Twins director of medical performance Dr. Christopher Camp.

Hardy was signed to a Minor League deal in the offseason and he came to camp with the expectation that he would be competing for a spot in the Twins' bullpen. The 33-year-old had a 3.73 ERA in 233 career games -- all for the Tigers -- and he elected free agency after being placed on outright waivers following the 2019 season.

Hardy saw that '19 campaign cut short by a partially torn flexor tendon in his left arm, and he stopped pitching last August after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in the area. He said earlier this spring that he had been pitching through pain the entire year, which limited him from using his cutter and forced him to rely instead on his changeup.

Hardy made only one appearance in Grapefruit League play, a scoreless inning on Feb. 24 against the Red Sox.