Twins’ roster rounds into shape with last round of cuts
Bailey Ober sent down to St. Paul.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Minnesota Twins’ 26-man roster appears to be set.
Two days before the Twins are set to leave Florida for their Opening Day game against the Royals in Kansas City, the club trimmed its roster down once more by optioning Bailey Ober to Triple-A and reassigning Kyle Garlick, Danny Coulombe and Aaron Sanchez to minor league camp, leaving 32 active players remaining in camp.
Five players — Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Gilberto Celestino, Josh Winder and Ronny Henriquez — technically remain in camp but are not expected to be ready to begin the season due to their respective injuries. Non-roster catcher Tony Wolters is also in camp, but he has been informed that he is not making the team; the Twins wanted to keep him in their major league environment until the end of camp so he could continue to gain familiarity with their pitchers.
That leaves 26.
“Opening Day, making the club, it’s a big deal and everyone should be excited about that,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But we also know, looking around, that you’re going to have to call on different names, different faces and have guys win games for you besides the original 26.”
That includes Ober, who had a great spring showing but fell victim to roster math. Baldelli delivered the news to Ober on Sunday morning and said the starter was “very, very professional” in their conversation.
“Can’t say he was happy about the decision that we’re making and he shouldn’t be,” Baldelli said.
While Ober had said a day earlier that he had hoped he had pitched well enough to make the decision tough on the Twins, Baldelli had maintained that the team’s intention was to roll with a five-man rotation.
With Pablo Lopez, Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda all staying healthy throughout the spring, Ober was left as the odd man out.
“We’re going to carry five starters, and we have six major league-ready starters,” Baldelli said. “Those are the realities of where we are. Continuing to stay ready is his job, and to go out there and perform in St. Paul right now. That’s his job. And we’re going to look up — and it probably won’t be long where we need him to come in and win games for us.”
While the Twins prefer Ober to go to Triple-A to stay stretched out as a starter, they’ll be bringing a converted starter, Cole Sands, with them to fill the last spot in the bullpen. Baldelli had talked this spring about wanting to carry a long reliever, and Sands, who is already on the 40-man roster, will fill that role.
As for position players, with both Polanco and Kirilloff starting the season on the injured list, outfielder Trevor Larnach, who has had a monster spring, and utilityman Willi Castro are set to make the roster. The Twins, who have an open spot on the 40-man roster, must add Castro before Thursday.
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