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Twins happy to get Cave in deal with Yanks

Vargas designated for assignment to make room for new outfielder
March 16, 2018

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins acquired outfielder Jake Cave from the Yankees in exchange for Minor League pitcher Luis Gil, the team announced on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins designated first baseman Kennys Vargas for assignment.Cave batted .305 last season with 26 doubles, five

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins acquired outfielder Jake Cave from the Yankees in exchange for Minor League pitcher Luis Gil, the team announced on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins designated first baseman Kennys Vargas for assignment.
Cave batted .305 last season with 26 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs and 56 RBIs between stops at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The former sixth-round pick in the 2011 Draft can play all three outfield positions, but will likely see the majority of his playing time in the corners. Depending on when he is able to report to camp, Cave could see action as soon as this weekend.
"Even going back to last summer when we did the trade where we got [Zack] Littell, he was one of the prospects we knew that had a bit of a breakout offensively last year, and I think the Yankees protected him for good reason last fall," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said.
Cave, 25, had been designated for assignment by New York on Monday after the Yankees picked up second baseman Neil Walker, reigniting trade talks between the teams. Falvey praised Vargas for keeping his chin up throughout the spring, and left the door open for him to return on a Minor League deal if a trade can't be worked out.
"Kennys was a pro," Falvey said. "He was very appreciative of the opportunity here, and recognizes that you never know how these things go. It doesn't mean it's necessarily the end, but we'll try and work for a resolution."
Vargas was a tough loss for manager Paul Molitor, who has worked with the first baseman extensively as he progressed through the organization. The Logan Morrison signing late in the spring made Vargas -- who is out of Minor League options -- a long shot to make the roster.
"I've known him for a long time, and I've always enjoyed what Kennys brings," Molitor said. "Given the moves that we made, it was becoming less and less likely that we were going to find a spot."
Vargas played parts of the last four seasons with the big league club, batting .252 (197-for-783) with 35 home runs and 116 RBIs in 236 career games. Although the switch-hitting Vargas had a reputation for putting in hard work in the cages, Molitor said it was his clubhouse presence and gregarious personality that he would miss most.
"I still remember him fist bumping the umpire after he made a good play," Molitor said with a smile. "That's a visual that I will never forget."
Worth noting
Trevor Hildenberger, who is trying to win a spot in the bullpen, had another rough outing, giving up three runs on three hits in an 11-1 loss to the Rays on Friday.

 The big side-armer allowed a double by Micah Johnson that short-hopped the wall in dead center, and a walk to Jason Coats to set up a three-run shot by Johnny Field. On the spring he has a 10.29 ERA, including giving up nine runs his last 4 1/3 innings.
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"He's trying really hard to make some adjustments, and I think there has been some things that [pitching coach] Garvin Alston and [assistant] Eddie Guardado are trying to get him back mechanically to where he was last year," Molitor said. "I think there a couple of things that are a little bit off, and If you're out there thinking about mechanics, you probably aren't going to make very good pitches."
• The Braves signed veteran starter Anibal Sanchez to a Minor League deal on Friday. The righty was given his unconditional release by the Twins earlier in the week to make room on the 40-man roster for free agent signee Lance Lynn.
Injury updates
Miguel Sano was not in the starting lineup again on Friday. The third baseman left Wednesday's game with a bruised knee after sliding awkwardly into second base.
"He was kind of concerned about a little bit of the soreness," Molitor said. "He went through a pretty good workout today, and I think he was just a little fearful of something worsening by playing, but I think he's been assured that that's not the case."
Monitor said that Sano would likely return to the lineup on Saturday.
• Outfielder Eddie Rosario got the start as the designated hitter in the evening tilt of Fridays split-squad doubleheader, as he continues to work his way back after experiencing tendinitis in his right bicep. The injury has kept the left fielder from playing the field since March 4.
Up next
Minnesota will hit the road on Saturday to take on the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET. Veteran Phil Hughes (1-0, 5.40 ERA) will get the start, with righties Alan Busenitz and Jake Reed -- both competing for a bullpen spot -- scheduled to pitch in relief. Pittsburgh will counter with right-hander Chad Kuhl (0-2, 14.85). You can watch live on MLB.TV.

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to and covered the Twins on Friday.