Featured Posts | Twins

Twins keep Kyle Garlick over slugger Brent Rooker in setting 26-man Opening Day roster

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays
Mar 10, 2021; Port Charlotte, Florida, USA; Minnesota Twins left fielder Brent Rooker (50) reaches base on error during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Eddie Rosario’s replacement in left field likely will be a 29-year-old journeyman. At least to open the season.

The team announced its final cuts on Monday, sending outfielder Brent Rooker to their alternate training site in St. Paul. Lefthanded reliver Brandon Waddell and righthanded reliever Derek Law were dispatched to the minor league camp and righthander Edwar Colina was placed on the 10-day injured list because of right elbow inflammation. Rooker and Waddell will be on the Twins’ taxi squad, so both could get early call-ups depending on what happens.

That means Kyle Garlick probably will be in left field Thursday on Opening Day in Milwaukee. Rosario is now in Cleveland after the Twins declined to offer him a contract this offseason. Garlick hit .300/.311/.700 with five homers and 13 RBIs in 17 games this spring. Rooker hit .243/.256/.405 with one home run and three RBIs in 17 games. The other option would be to start Jake Cave in left.

Rooker was a candidate to begin the season in left after Alex Kirilloff was sent to the team’s alternate site last week. Kirilloff went 4-for-31 (.129) with eight strikeouts this spring. Part of that decision almost certainly had to do with the fact that if Kirilloff does not join the Twins until after April 16, he will not accrue a full year of big-league service time that counts toward him becoming a free agent.

Rooker, 26, slashed .316/.381/.579 with one home run and five RBIs in seven games with the Twins last year. His season came to an end in September when he suffered a displaced fracture of his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch from Cleveland’s Zach Plesac at Target Field.

Garlick was designated for assignment by the Dodgers in February 2020 and was then traded to Philadelphia. The Phillies jettisoned him this past January and he was claimed by Atlanta. The Braves designated him for assignment in February and the Twins grabbed him.

Garlick slashed .136 (3-for-22)/.174/.182 with three RBIs in 12 games for the Phillies last season, and .250 (12-for-48)/.321/.521 with three home runs and six RBIs in 30 games for the Dodgers in 2019.

The Twins will take 13 pitchers into the season with the final job being won by lefthanded reliever Caleb Thielbar. Willians Astudillo made the club because of his ability to play multiple positions. He is listed as a catcher but also can play the corner infield or outfield spots, if needed.

Here is the Twins’ 26-man Opening Day roster:

Pitchers (13): Jorge Alcala (R), José Berríos (R), Alex Colomé (R), Randy Dobnak (R), Tyler Duffey (R), J.A. Happ (L), Kenta Maeda (R), Michael Pineda (R), Hansel Robles (R), Taylor Rogers (L), Matt Shoemaker (R), Cody Stashak (R) and Caleb Thielbar (L).

Catchers (3): Willians Astudillo, Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers.

Infielders (5): Luis Arraez, Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sanó and Andrelton Simmons.

Outfielders (4): Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Kyle Garlick and Max Kepler.

Designated hitter (1): Nelson Cruz.

Injured list (1): Edwar Colina.

Taxi squad (5): Luke Farrell (RHP), JT Riddle (IF), Brent Rooker (OF), Tomás Telis (C) and Brandon Waddell (LHP).