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Twins' Byung Ho Park determined to prove he belongs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- South Korean slugger Byung Ho Park, who required surgery on the back of his right hand in late August, remains committed to testing his abilities against major league competition.

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May 28, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Byung Ho Park (52) reacts to being called out on strikes with two men on base to end the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - South Korean slugger Byung Ho Park, who required surgery on the back of his right hand in late August, remains committed to testing his abilities against major league competition.

"He's embarrassed, but he's not giving up," a Twins official said. "He wants another shot to show what he can do. He's all in."

Park was left off the 28-man provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic that was announced this week in South Korea. Park, a two-time most valuable player in the Korea Baseball Organization, was passed over for the first three WBC events but has represented his country in other international competitions.

Under contract through 2019 at a relatively paltry $8.75 million combined, Park's deal includes a club option for 2020 at $6.5 million. While the Twins bought out Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka after two disappointing seasons in 2011-12, there is no indication Park is looking for an exit strategy.

Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey deferred comment this week when asked about Park's recovery at the general managers' meetings, which wrapped up Thursday.

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"We'll spend some time working through our internal guys while we're here and getting to know a little bit more about that," Falvey said. "So we'll comment on that at some point in the future."

Park, 30, finished with a combined 22 home runs in 331 at-bats between the majors and Triple-A Rochester in 2015. He hit a combined 105 homers in his final two seasons with the Nexen Heroes, which prompted the Twins to submit a winning bid of $12.85 million on the posting fee alone.

Rosario recovering

Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario, working back from a fractured left thumb suffered on a headfirst slide into first base, has been assured he will not require surgery.

Rosario, who suffered the season-ending injury on Sept. 17 in New York, saw a doctor on Oct. 28 and is due for a follow-up visit in another three weeks.

After leading the American League with 15 triples and ranking among league leaders with 16 outfield assists as a rookie in 2015, Rosario regressed a bit in his sophomore season. He was shipped back to Triple-A in mid-May but rallied upon his return in July, eventually making 30 starts in center field as well.

Rosario, 25, lost 32 points off his combined on-base/slugging percentage in Year 2. For his career he has piled up 209 strikeouts against just 27 walks.

A reserve for Puerto Rico's WBC team in 2013, Rosario has been invited to play for his home territory once again next spring. A stint in the Puerto Rican Winter League would help in his preparation, but the recovery arc of his thumb will dictate how soon he's able to take swings and resume full baseball activities.

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Dozier to WBC?

Brian Dozier has caught the eye of former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who will manage Team USA in the World Baseball Classic next spring.

According to a person with direct knowledge, Dozier is receiving strong consideration at second base along with another American League Central stalwart, Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians.

Former manager Joe Torre, now chief baseball officer for Major League Baseball, is serving as the GM for Team USA. The Twins sent then-catcher Joe Mauer and closer Glen Perkins to the 2013 WBC for Team USA.

Hughes tying the knot

The Twins met with CAA's Nez Balelo, agent for third baseman Trevor Plouffe and right-hander Phil Hughes.

Balelo mentioned Hughes' upcoming wedding to Sarah Haag on Saturday in Napa, Calif., but it appears Twins director of team travel Mike Herman will be the highest-ranking member of the organization to attend.

"We apparently didn't get the invite," new Twins GM Thad Levine joked.

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Plouffe, arbitration-eligible for the final time, is projected to make $8.2 million next season if he's retained.

The Twins also were scheduled to meet with Casey Close, the agent for lefty Hector Santiago, projected for $8.6 million in his final year of arbitration.

Briefly

- Levine called longtime Twins scout Larry Corrigan, who is recovering from a stroke suffered in June. "He sounded great," Levine said of Corrigan, 66. "I haven't seen him, but it sounds like he's doing well and really improving. We're looking forward to spending some time with him."

- Falvey and Levine also had dinner this week with player personnel chief Mike Radcliff and pro scouting coordinator Vern Followell, in town for Arizona Fall League coverage. Radcliff and Followell will fly to the Twin Cities for additional scouting meetings early next week.

- There were no immediate plans to shut down struggling left-hander Stephen Gonsalves, who recorded just two outs on Wednesday in his second start back from a shoulder strain. Farm director Brad Steil and other Twins officials would be consulted on that decision with 10 days left in the AFL schedule, Levine said.

- The Twins headed home without feeling they were a phone call away from any free-agent signings or trades. "Not at this juncture," Levine said. "I think the GM meetings, by and large, are teams feeling one other out."

Related Topics: MINNESOTA TWINSBASEBALL
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