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Buxton wins center fielder job for Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Byron Buxton secured his place as the Twins Opening Day center fielder while Oswaldo Arcia regained his major-league status.Minnesota weeded its outfield Saturday by reassigning six players to minor-league camp, including vete...

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Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton runs out onto the field before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. (Photo by Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Byron Buxton secured his place as the Twins Opening Day center fielder while Oswaldo Arcia regained his major-league status.
Minnesota weeded its outfield Saturday by reassigning six players to minor-league camp, including veterans Carlos Quentin and Darin Mastroianni.
General manager Terry Ryan said the team would give Quentin, an eight-year veteran, a couple days to decide whether to report to Triple-A Rochester or ask for his release.
Mastroianni is expected to play more spring training games with the Twins before the April 4 season opener. Barring injuries Ryan said the 13 position players remaining on the big-league roster would open the season in Baltimore.
“We want people to settle in here,” Ryan said before Saturday’s game against the Pirates at Hammond Stadium.
Arcia and Danny Santana will open the season as reserves behind a left-to-right starting outfield of Eddie Rosario, Buxton and Miguel Sano. Arcia and Santana were out of minor-league options, which squeezed out Quentin and Mastroianni.
Buxton was hitting .243 with 12 strikeouts in 37 spring at bats entering Saturday’s game but had played a flawless center field. The 22-year-old top prospect debuted for Minnesota in June 2015 to great fanfare and tripled in his first game. However, a thumb injury quickly derailed things, and the Twins wanted him to earn the job outright this spring.
“He’s still growing,” Ryan said. “As long as he carries his responsibility of taking the decent at bat, moving runners and not striking out … the defensive side of the game’s going to make us a better ballclub.”
Arcia was the Twins’ 2015 Opening Day left fielder, but he was injured in May and ultimately demoted to the minors. Rosario took over his position, and Arcia never came back to the majors.
He spent the offseason in Fort Myers refining his defensive range and throwing, and the results were noticeable. He struggled at the plate but bolstered his case with a pair of impressive home runs Thursday off Marlins left-handed pitchers.
“He’s got things to prove,” Ryan said. “He’s 24 years old. There’s still plenty of opportunity for him to get his career going back in the right direction. So he’s going to get that opportunity.”
Also assigned to minor-league camp were catcher Juan Centeno, infielder James Beresford and left-handed reliever Dan Runzler. Catcher John Hicks was optioned to Triple-A Rochester.
Pitching constitutes the remaining roster drama for the Twins, who need to solidify the Nos. 4-5 spots in the rotation and bullpen roles. Tommy Milone is projected to be the No. 4 starter while Ricky Nolasco and Tyler Duffey have pivotal starts Monday to solidify their standing.
Duffey needs to win a starting job or he is ticketed for Triple-A Rochester. Nolasco could become a long reliever if he does not secure the job.
“We’ve got a good issue on our hands,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a decision to make. But that’s not a bad thing.”
Nine relievers remain in camp with Ryan Pressly, Ryan O’Rourke, Michael Tonkin, Logan Darnell and Brandon Kintzler vying for roles.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA TWINS
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