Prized Twins reliever might go to fall league
CLEVELAND -- Prized Twins relief prospect Nick Burdi, who has suffered through a lost season because of a bruised humerus in his right arm, is still being considered for a second consecutive assignment to the Arizona Fall League.
CLEVELAND - Prized Twins relief prospect Nick Burdi, who has suffered through a lost season because of a bruised humerus in his right arm, is still being considered for a second consecutive assignment to the Arizona Fall League.
Burdi, 23, made just three appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before landing on the disabled list in early May. The 2014 second-round pick out of Louisville threw eight scoreless innings (11 strikeouts) in the prospect-only league last fall.
Rosters are due to be announced Wednesday.
Left-hander Randy Rosario, limited to 96ƒ innings in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, is expected to be among Twins prospects named to the Surprise Saguaros roster.
Rosario, added to the 40-man roster last winter, saw his nine-inning strikeout rate drop to 6.49 in 21 outings (16 starts) for Class A Fort Myers but he posted a 3.34 earned-run average.
Miracle shortstop Nick Gordon, the Twins' first-round pick in 2014, could head west to build on a solid season in which he hit .296. Lookouts center fielder Zach Granite also figures to be a candidate for the seven-man Twins contingent after a breakout season that includes a .356 on-base percentage.
Triple-A sluggers Daniel Palka and Adam Brett Walker II could rate return visits to the desert along with Double-A catcher Stuart Turner.
Among pitchers, Double-A lefty Mason Melotakis has worked just 32 innings out of the bullpen after being added to the 40-man roster last winter. Right-handers Ryan Eades, Brandon Peterson and recently acquired Alan Busenitz also profile as potential AFL candidates.
Four walks on Monday night helped veteran left-hander Hector Santiago surge back into a tie with Martin Perez of the Texas Rangers for the American League lead at 64.
In terms of nine-inning walk rate, Santiago maintains a comfortable edge among AL qualifiers at 3.95, well ahead of Kansas City flamethrower Yordano Ventura (3.61). Cleveland righty Trevor Bauer, who dueled Santiago to a standstill over the first six innings of an eventual 1-0 Twins loss, was fourth in the AL at 3.43 walks per nine.
So much for the Twins' attempts to turn Santiago into a strike-throwing machine.
"I said that right before starting in my (pregame) bullpen: I haven't worried about walks all year and I've pitched fine," Santiago said. "I've given up six walks and I've gone six innings and gotten a win. A walk is not the issue; it's when I try not to walk people and leave pitches over the middle of the plate."
After going two straight starts without a walk but giving up a combined 15 earned runs in 8„ innings, Santiago held the Indians to three hits despite recording just two strikeouts for the third straight outing.
"I think I pitched smart," he said. "I definitely think pitching to where I'm not worried about walking people is a better mind-set - having that mind-set of, 'Who cares?' If I walk somebody, I walk somebody. Get the next guy and here we go. Move on."
Twins manager Paul Molitor was asked Tuesday about the search for Terry Ryan's front-office successor and how that might limit his short-term options and long-range decisions in the coming weeks.
"I don't fret over that," Molitor said. "I think it's different because we have some unknowns here moving forward with some people that will be integral to some of the philosophies we might go forward with. It just puts us in kind of a strange position, but it's one of those uncontrollable things and we'll have to see how it plays out."
The Twins are searching for a president of baseball operations who would then likely hire a general manager if interim GM Rob Antony or another internal candidate isn't retained for that role.
"You would hope that you would still have some input into some of those things and bring people up to speed if there's changes," Molitor said.
Molitor said he plans to meet individually with most players on the season-ending roster, as he did last year, to give them some thoughts moving forward.
"I will still voice what I think," he said. "Is it possible that it could change because of whatever might transpire? I think players will understand that, too."
The Twins were among major league teams with a scouting presence at Tim Tebow's much-hyped baseball workout Tuesday in Southern California.
Former big-league catcher Chad Moeller, who was drafted by the Twins in 1996 and broke in with them in 2000, is one of Tebow's baseball trainers. Molitor was bench coach under Tom Kelly in 2000, but he was unaware Moeller had been coaching Tebow, who hasn't played baseball since high school.
Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback, already has an offer to play outfield this winter for Zulia in Venezuela. Twins farmhands Levi Michael and D.J. Baxendale were with Zulia last winter, and reliever Ryan O'Rourke pitched for the club in 2014-15.