Twins not rushing to make roster decisions
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With less than two weeks before the Twins open the season against the White Sox on March 31 in Chicago, questions still remain on what the roster will look like on Opening Day.
The Twins still have to make 15 roster cuts, as they currently have 40 players in big league camp, including 20 pitchers (four non-roster), four catchers (one non-roster), nine infielders (three non-roster) and seven outfielders (two non-roster).
Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said the roster should start shaping up soon, but the club hasn't made any official decisions on the fifth starter, the bullpen or the bench. The Twins also have to decide whether to start Aaron Hicks or Alex Presley in center field, and whether Josmil Pinto or Chris Herrmann will be the backup catcher to Kurt Suzuki.
"We've had good discussions," Antony said. "Everybody voices their opinions and everybody understands we have time. We've sent guys over for a reason, and the guys who are still over here are over here for a reason. So we still have 10 days to make our final decisions, but we'll probably make most of our decisions before that time. You like to have your team set."
The Twins still have to decide on a fifth starter between Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley, Scott Diamond and Kyle Gibson, and they have decisions to make in the bullpen as well. Deduno appears to be the frontrunner for that final spot in the rotation, but Worley and Diamond are also out of Minor League options.
It could create a logjam in the bullpen if they decide to keep Worley or Diamond on as relievers instead of using them in the rotation. But Worley didn't help his cause with a rough outing against the Rays on Tuesday night, when he gave up seven runs on 11 hits over 2 2/3 innings.
The Twins are giving all four candidates a chance to see Grapefruit League action this week, with Gibson starting against the Cardinals on Wednesday and Diamond starting against the Rays on Thursday. Deduno will also back up Gibson on Wednesday.
"All four guys are going to pitch over the next three days, including tonight, so we'll reevaluate the situation after that," Antony said before Worley's outing. "If somebody is clearly out of the mix, we can discuss something or else we can roll them all out again. We have a little time on our side."
The Twins also have to decide on their bench, with Eduardo Escobar likely to make the club as a utility infielder, while Jason Kubel, Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello are seemingly fighting for two spots. Kubel isn't on the Major League roster but remains likely to make the team as a designated hitter and backup outfielder. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said nothing has been decided about the bench just yet.
"That's still way up in the air," Gardenhire said. "We've still got a long way to go before we get there. I'll tell you this, there's no agreement on any of that right now. Everybody has a different opinion on which way to go with our guys off the bench. We've had these conversations three different times. Everybody likes different people right now."