Twins to focus on relief help with callups
Club also looking to add 'a few position players' and a backup catcher to add depth
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins head into September as contenders for the first time since 2010, and they will be looking for reinforcements with rosters expanding on Tuesday.
The most glaring need will be relief help, as Twins starters have been unable to reach six innings in eight of their past nine games. But they'll also call up a few position players and a backup catcher to add depth to their roster.
"We'll bring some guys up on Tuesday, because I think this team needs reinforcements, guys who are more of an immediate need," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "We'll bring some arms in, because our bullpen is taxed. So I think it's fair to say we'll have a couple pitchers and a few position players."
Antony added the callups could also come in waves. Twins general manager Terry Ryan has been scouting Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester over the past two weeks.
Here's a look at players the Twins could call up in September, but it's worth noting the 40-man roster is currently full:
Jose Berrios, right-hander
Twins fans have been clamoring for Berrios, who is ranked as Minnesota's No. 2 prospect and the No. 23 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com. But he's not on the 40-man roster, and he's thrown a career-high 155 1/3 innings. Ryan is scouting Berrios' start with Rochester on Monday night, and there remains a chance Berrios will be called up -- he could be used in relief, although Antony said they haven't ruled out the rotation. But the Twins, who are looking to keep him under roughly 180 innings this season, could decide the 21-year-old has thrown enough.
Eric Fryer, catcher
The Twins will be bringing up a third catcher, and Fryer makes the most sense, even though he's no longer on the 40-man roster. Fryer hit .167 in seven games with Minnesota this season, and he would be called up primarily for insurance reasons.
Danny Santana, shortstop
The shortstop has struggled in the Majors this year after his promising rookie season, hitting .218 in 74 games, but he has been playing well lately at Rochester. Santana is hitting .311 and homered twice on Saturday, with Ryan in attendance.
Jorge Polanco, second baseman/shortstop
The Twins' No. 4 prospect has gotten a taste of the big leagues the past two years, hitting .313 in nine games, and he has had a strong season in the Minors. Polanco is currently at Chattanooga, but he has also seen time at Rochester, hitting a combined .286/.337/.384 in 112 games.
Kennys Vargas, first baseman/designated hitter
Having been demoted to Double-A on July 2, Vargas has been swinging the bat well recently since joining Rochester. He's hitting .280 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 37 games, and he homered among three RBIs on Sunday. Vargas would be a power bat off the bench for the Twins, who could also decide to bring up Oswaldo Arcia or Josmil Pinto as a bench bat, but both have struggled recently.
Michael Tonkin, right-hander
Almost assured a callup, as he's split time between the Majors and Triple-A this year, Tonkin posted a 6.17 ERA in 17 appearances with the Twins. But he fared much better at Triple-A, with a 1.10 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Max Kepler, outfielder
The Twins' No. 6 prospect has had a breakout season at Double-A, hitting .330/.416/.545. Minnesota already has four outfielders on the roster and will get Aaron Hicks back from the 15-day disabled list on Friday, which hurts Kepler's chances. But Kepler is on the 40-man roster, which works in his favor.
A.J. Achter, right-hander
Having struggled in his short stint with the Twins (7.36 ERA in 7 1/3 innings), Achter is likely to be called up after posting a 2.63 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 48 innings at Rochester.
Alex Meyer, right-hander
Despite a disappointing season (5.13 ERA at Triple-A; 16.88 ERA in 2 2/3 innings with Minnesota), the club's No. 8 prospect has been pitching better recently in relief. The hard-throwing right-hander has a 2.41 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings in August.