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Twins' roster essentially set after flurry of moves

Hughes to open season on DL, Granite optioned, LaMarre makes team
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

WASHINGTON -- The Twins essentially set their roster on Tuesday, as they intend to place right-hander Phil Hughes on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and outfielder Zack Granite was optioned to Triple-A Rochester, opening spots on the roster for outfielder Ryan LaMarre and relievers Tyler Kinley and Gabriel Moya.

Additionally, first baseman Kennys Vargas cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Rochester with LaMarre getting the roster spot vacated by Vargas. The addition of LaMarre over Granite was a surprise, but LaMarre hit .475 this spring while Granite batted .140, and LaMarre fits the roster better as a right-handed hitter.

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WASHINGTON -- The Twins essentially set their roster on Tuesday, as they intend to place right-hander Phil Hughes on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and outfielder Zack Granite was optioned to Triple-A Rochester, opening spots on the roster for outfielder Ryan LaMarre and relievers Tyler Kinley and Gabriel Moya.

Additionally, first baseman Kennys Vargas cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Rochester with LaMarre getting the roster spot vacated by Vargas. The addition of LaMarre over Granite was a surprise, but LaMarre hit .475 this spring while Granite batted .140, and LaMarre fits the roster better as a right-handed hitter.

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"He's tremendously excited -- it's emotional for a guy like that," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He worked for a while and now he gets a chance to make an Opening Day roster."

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With Hughes going on the DL, the Twins have the roster spots for Kinley and Moya to both make the club. Minnesota is slated to open with 12 pitchers: starters Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Jose Berrios and Lance Lynn and relievers Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, Zach Duke, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, Ryan Pressly, Moya and Kinley.

Hughes, who suffered the injury while pitching on Thursday, remains in Florida, but there is still a chance he could return by April 11, which is the first time the Twins will need a fifth starter.

"You'd have to think it's still in the mix," Molitor said. "We can't force it if he's not ready. But we'll see when he is able to pitch in a game again."

On the position-player side, the Twins lost Vargas on waivers to the Reds last week, only to reclaim him and then place him on waivers again, but this time he cleared. That open spot was used for LaMarre, but the Twins continue to be active on the waiver wire. One name worth monitoring could be Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson, who is out of options and will be placed on waivers after being designated for assignment on Tuesday.

Video: MIN@PHI: Vargas skies a double to right field

LaMarre, though, is the feel-good story in camp, reinventing his swing after going 2-for-37 in the Majors over the past three seasons and making an Opening Day roster for the first time.

"I knew the decision was coming but didn't know which way it was going to go," an emotional LaMarre said. "They told me congratulations and I was excited, but it was mostly a blur after that."

Here's a look at the roster and how it compared to the projections before the start of spring and at the halfway point:

Catcher (2): Jason Castro, Mitch Garver

Garver didn't have a great spring offensively but won the job at backup catcher over non-roster invites Bobby Wilson and Willians Astudillo. Garver, ranked as the club's No. 19 prospect by MLB Pipeline, figures to get a bulk of his playing time against left-handers to spell the left-handed-hitting Castro.

First base (2) Joe Mauer, Logan Morrison

The Twins headed to camp with Vargas the expected backup first baseman, but they signed Morrison to a one-year deal to be the backup to Mauer and the everyday designated hitter. Vargas remains in the organization and adds depth at Triple-A.

Video: BOS@MIN: Morrison lofts a ground-rule double

Second base (1): Brian Dozier

Dozier, in the last year of his deal, left Spring Training without a contract extension, but is entrenched at second base. There's a chance extension talks could happen down the road, but there were no talks in spring.

Third base (1): Miguel Sano

Sano, coming off surgery in November to have a titanium rod inserted in his left shin, showed he was healthy in spring and had no restrictions once he started playing. He also didn't face any discipline from MLB for his alleged sexual assault.

Shortstop (1): Eduardo Escobar

Jorge Polanco was slated to be the starting shortstop for a second consecutive Opening Day, but was suspended for 80 games for using a performance-enhancing drug. Instead, Escobar will take over as starting shortstop, much like he did late last year at third in the absence of Sano.

Outfield (5): Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Robbie Grossman, LaMarre

LaMarre was the biggest surprise in camp to make the club, beating out Granite for the final spot. Grossman will also serve as a backup outfielder and part-time DH. The Twins were expected to carry four outfielders, but Polanco's suspension altered their plans.

Video: HOU@MIN: LaMarre breaks up no-hitter in the 9th

Utility (1): Ehire Adrianza

The Twins are going with only one backup infielder after the suspension of Polanco and Erick Aybar opting out of his contract. Adrianza can play all four infield spots adeptly and had a big spring offensively, tying for the team lead in homers with three.

Starting pitchers (4): Odorizzi, Gibson, Berrios, Lynn

With the benefit of off-days, the Twins will open with a four-man rotation. Hughes was a candidate to be the fifth starter or a long reliever but will instead open on the DL. He could return to start on April 11, which is the first time they'll need a fifth starter.

Bullpen (8): Rodney, Reed, Duke, Hildenberger, Rogers, Pressly, Kinley, Moya.

Rodney, Reed, Duke, Hildenberger, Rogers and Pressly were essentially locks heading into Spring Training while Kinley and Moya were both surprises and helped by the injury to Hughes. Kinley, a Rule 5 Draft pick, must be kept on the roster all season or offered back to the Marlins. Moya had an impressive spring with a 0.75 ERA.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

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