MINNEAPOLIS — For the second straight year, the Twins went with a high school player with their first pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
After taking outfielder Byron Buxton as the No. 2 pick in last year’s Draft, the Twins selected right-hander pitcher Kohl Stewart from St. Pius X High School in Houston as the No. 4 overall pick on Thursday night.
Stewart, who turns 19 on Oct. 7, was regarded as the best prep pitcher in the Draft and is a two-sport athlete, as he is currently committed to Texas A&M to play quarterback and play baseball. He was selected after the Astros picked Stanford right-hander Mark Appel at No. 1, the Cubs took University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant at No. 2 and the Rockies drafted Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray at No. 3.
“I think the ceiling is unlimited,” Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said. “I think he’s got the makeup and the physical attributes to be a frontline starter. I’m not going to sit here and say the guy is going to be a No. 1 starter — I don’t think anyone can predict that — but I do think that, not to put any undue pressure on the kid, but he has the ability, the athleticism to be just as good as the guys up ahead of him.”
Johnson also added that the Twins aren’t worried about signing him even though the Tomball, Texas, native is committed to Texas A&M. The No. 4 overall pick has a slot value of $4.544 million.
“He’s signing,” Johnson said. “He wants to be a Major League Baseball player.”
Stewart was surrounded by family members when he found out he was being picked by the Twins but said some weather issues kept him from watching it live on MLB Network.
“It was unbelievable,” Stewart said. “One of the craziest feelings I’ve ever felt. It’s a really exciting time for my family. I had a bunch of people in my house watching it. It was funny because the weather got pretty bad here in Houston so all of our satellite dishes went out, so we couldn’t even watch it on our tvs. We all had to put it up on our phones. So a few people had it on their phones and whenever my name was called the house kinda went crazy.”
On the diamond, the 6-foot-3 right-hander has a 95-mph fastball with a plus-slider and a changeup and curveball to go with it.
As a junior in 2012, Kohl went 8-0 and recorded 72 strikeouts over 54 innings pitched as he helped lead St. Pius to the TAPPS 5A Title. And as a senior, he went 5-1 with a 0.18 ERA in 40 innings pitched with 59 strikeouts and 16 walks to be named to the Texas All-Region First-Team in 2013.
He also played in both the Area Code Games and the Perfect Game All-American Classic over the summer, serving as the starting pitcher for the West in the Perfect Game. He was also named a First-Team Rawlings All-American.
“When we scouted him last summer he was probably 185 pounds, he put on about 20 pounds of muscle,” Johnson said. “He has arm strength. He has four distinct pitches: a fastball, slider, curve and change. And for a guy that is a dual sport athlete, he didn’t spend a ton of time on the mound last summer, but he has a very good working arm. His delivery is pretty good as well.”
Stewart sounded optimistic about signing with the Twins but wanted to talk with Texas A&M football coach Kevin Sumlin first before making his decision final. The Aggies already have a big-time quarterback in Johnny Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman last year.
“Obviously the Twins, they pick me, they expect me to sign,” Stewart said. “I’m not going to say 100 percent for sure, but I’m looking forward to joining the Twins organization, but I’m definitely going to be in contact with Coach Sumlin here in the next couple hours or days or whatever it ends up being.”
Stewart is a Type 1 diabetic but Twins officials said leading up to the Draft that they weren’t worried about his medical condition, which is considered under control.
Day 2 of the Draft continues with Rounds 3-10, streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m. And Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. ET
MLB.com’s coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
The Twins have one more pick on the first night of the Draft with the No. 43 overall pick in the second round.
ATLANTA — After giving up a career-worst eight runs in just 3 2/3 innings against the Braves on Wednesday, Vance Worley was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game. The Twins will make a corresponding roster move on Friday, presumably to bring up Samuel Deduno to start against the Tigers.
Worley, who was the club’s Opening Day starter and was acquired in the trade that sent Ben Revere to Philadelphia this offseason, has struggled his year with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts. The right-hander struck out just 25, walked 15 and served up nine homers over 48 3/3 innings.
“I just need to work on being myself and getting back to what I was doing,” said Worley, who had a career 3.50 ERA in three seasons with the Phillies. “They haven’t seen what I’ve been capable of doing. Ever since I’ve been here, it’s been a battle so I need to figure it out.”
Worley left the ball up against the Braves and ended up giving up 10 hits and three homers, including a grand slam to Evan Gattis.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Worley needs to work on locating his pitches better while pitching down in Rochester.
“We’re counting on him,” Gardenhire said. “He has to pitch better than that. He needs to get the ball down and start making quality pitches. Even time he makes a bad pitch they make him pay for it. He can turn it around but he needs to make that happen.”
ATLANTA — Right-hander Samuel Deduno, not prospect Kyle Gibson, will start against the Tigers on Friday at Comerica Park.
The Twins still need to make the roster move official by placing Deduno on both the 25-man and 40-man roster. They’ll make corresponding moves before Friday’s game with Darin Mastroianni or Tim Wood the likely candidates to be placed on the 60-day disabled list to clear room on the 40-man roster.
Deduno, who was slated to start for Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, was chosen over Gibson, right-hander P.J. Walters and left-hander Andrew Albers. Deduno threw a bullpen on Tuesday instead of starting for the Red Wings and will join the team Thursday night in Detroit.
“We had four very good options,” Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. “Gibson had two of three good outings but we want to see more consistency. Let him back it up a few times. So we went with Deduno. But Walters pitching well and so was Albers. But we discussed it and thought the best matchup for Detroit was Deduno.”
Deduno, 29, made 15 starts for the Twins last year, posting a 4.44 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 53 walks in 79 innings. He also faced the Tigers twice, giving up three runs over seven innings at Target Field on Aug. 13 and surrendering seven runs on seven hits over 2 1/3 innings at Comerica Park on Sept. 22.
Deduno was likely to make the club’s rotation to start the season after starring for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic but injured his groin in the title game and began the season injured. But he returned to action on May 5 and posted a 2.70 ERA in three starts with Rochester with 17 strikeouts and 10 walks over 16 2/3 innings to get the nod against Detroit.
“He’s been throwing good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We saw him for the World games and he got hurt but he’s back out there striking people out. You’re going to get a guy who puts some fear in people’s hearts. He can wing it and snap off some stuff off. I don’t think he’s afraid of going against those big boys in Detroit.”
Gibson, ranked as the No. 49 overall prospect by MLB.com, was also a top candidate, as he’s thrown shutouts in two of his last three outings with Rochester. But the 25-year-old has yet to throw back-to-back quality starts in his nine outings this year despite an impressive 3.25 ERA and 46 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 52 2/3 innings.
“He’s had one good start, one bad start, one good start, one bad start so we’re looking for him hopefully put together some starts before we bring him up,” Gardenhire said. “Because with that guy you want to call him up so that he stays here. And right now he’s just not there.”
Antony also dismissed the notion that Gibson wasn’t called up for service time or arbitration reasons, as he pointed to rookies Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia as examples of players called up early in the season by the Twins without any regard to service time.
“If he’s good enough, it doesn’t matter,” Antony said.
MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer was held out of the lineup against the Red Sox on Friday because of back stiffness, and is day to day.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the injury isn’t serious, as Mauer woke up with a sore back and the decision was made to keep him out for precautionary reasons. Ryan Doumit started at catcher in his place and hit fifth.
“It’s pretty simple here — he came in with a stiff back and there’s no sense of him playing in this weather,” Gardenhire said. “[The trainers] said to give him a day here and we’ll go from there. I listen to what they say.”
Mauer has been on fire recently, as he’s currently in the midst of a 14-game hit streak. He’s hitting .446 (25-for-56) with 11 doubles and 11 walks over that span to raise his batting average to .349 with a .431 on-base percentage.
But he didn’t take batting practice before Friday’s game and his return for Saturday is still questionable.
“We’re hoping this is short-term,” Gardenhire said. “We’re hoping he can play tomorrow.”
With Mauer out, Chris Parmelee also made his first-ever start as the club’s No. 2 hitter. Gardenhire said he went with Parmelee because he sees so many pitches. He ranks third on the team with 4.19 pitches seen per plate appearance behind Mauer (4.28) and Josh Willingham (4.19).
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins’ scheduled game with the Angels on Wednesday at Target Field was postponed due to inclement weather, and the game will be made up on a yet to be determined date.
It marks the second postponed game of the season for the Twins, who also saw Sunday’s game against the Mets postponed due to weather. It’s also the seventh postponed game in the four-year history of Target Field.
Right-hander Vance Worley was scheduled to start against the Angels but will be pushed back to pitch against the White Sox in Chicago on Friday after Thursday’s off-day. He’ll be followed by left-hander Scott Diamond on Saturday and right-hander Kevin Correia on Sunday. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey will now start Monday against the Marlins and will be followed by left-hander Pedro Hernandez on Tuesday.
“We’re just backing everybody up,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “With the weather, we tried to find a way to play this but it just wasn’t conducive. It’s supposed to rain all night long.”
Both teams have an off-day on Thursday but with snow in the forecast in the Twin Cities, the Angels were scheduled to head back to Anaheim after the game. The two clubs share a mutual off-day on Sept. 9.
“It’s not going to be a good situation for either team because they’re going to have to fly back in here,” Gardenhire said. “But it’s just the way it is. You can’t control that stuff. You just have to do what’s right for tonight.”
Fans holding tickets to Wednesday’s postponed game have two options. They can keep their tickets for admission into the rescheduled game, or utilize the value of their ticket — the amount paid — as a voucher towards any future Twins regular season game in 2013. Tickets for the postponed game are not subject to refunds.
Fans who wish to exchange their tickets for another game must bring the tickets to the Target Field box office no later than 48 hours prior to the start of the rescheduled game. Tickets returned any later than 48 hours prior to the start of the rescheduled game will be considered invalid. Tickets may be exchanged only at the Target Field Ticket Office located on Target Plaza off 7th Street.
Fans are encouraged to visit http://www.twinsbaseball.com, call 612-33-TWINS (612-338-9467) or 800-33-TWINS (800-338-9467), or visit the Target Field Box Office during normal business hours for detailed information on the Twins’ rainout policy.
MINNEAPOLIS — After a slow start to the season as the club’s leadoff hitter, rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks moved down to the No. 8 spot in the lineup against the Angels on Tuesday.
Hicks entered Tuesday’s game hitting .047 (2-for-43) with 20 strikeouts and four walks in 11 games. With Hicks not in the leadoff spot, Darin Mastroianni was set to take over and start in left field but was a late scratch from the lineup with a sore left ankle.
Instead, second baseman Brian Dozier made his first career start in the leadoff spot and Wilkin Ramirez moved from designated hitter to left field. Hicks also slid down from the No. 7 spot to No. 8 with Ryan Doumit joining the lineup as DH and batting fifth.
“We’re just moving it around and mixing it up a little bit,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’ll see if [Hicks] can put some swings out there and take all thought process out of it and just go up there and take a whack.”
Third baseman Trevor Plouffe also moved up in the lineup with left-hander Jason Vargas on the mound for the Angels. Plouffe, who has a career .271/.339/.528 line against lefties, hit cleanup for the first time in his career.
“We’ve seen when he gets that backspin going he can get as hot as anyone and he did that last night when he put one in the seats,” Gardenhire said. “He’s been swinging good lately.”
1. Peter Bourjos, CF
2. Mike Trout, LF
3. Albert Pujols, DH
4. Josh Hamilton, RF
5. Mark Trumbo, 1B
6. Howie Kendrick, 2B
7. Chris Iannetta, C
8. Luis Jimenez, 3B
9. Andrew Romine, SS
LHP Jason Vargas (0-1, 4.76 ERA)
1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Chris Parmelee, RF
7. Wilkin Ramirez, LF
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS
Pedro Florimon, SS
RHP Mike Pelfrey (1-1, 7.36 ERA)
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins officially recalled outfielder Oswaldo Arcia from Triple-A Rochester on Monday to take the place of outfielder Wilkin Ramirez, who was placed on the paternity list on Sunday.
Arcia, ranked as the No. 93 overall prospect according to MLB.com, was in the lineup against the Angels, batting seventh and starting in left field to mark his Major League debut.
Arcia, 21, said he was notified of the decision that he would be called up by Rochester manager Gene Glynn on Saturday after the Red Wings played in a doubleheader. He added that he told Twins manager Ron Gardenhire he was willing to play wherever they put him even though he’s mostly been used in right field throughout his Minor League career.
“I told him I was ready to play wherever,” Arcia said through translator Bobby Cuellar.
Left field, center, right — I played all of these all the time in Venezuela.”
Gardenhire added that Arcia was originally slated to start at designated hitter but Josh Willingham came in feeling sick, so Willingham was out of the lineup with Arcia getting the start in left. Ryan Doumit started at DH.
Arcia, who was the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year last season, was off to a hot start at Triple-A, hitting .414 with three homers, two doubles and eight RBIs in nine games.
“We wanted a guy who could swing it and he’s been swinging it pretty good,” Gardenhire said. “So he’ll come up here and we’ll see what happens. Hopefully he’ll have some fun. The kid can hit.”
But Arcia’s stay with the Twins could be short, as Ramirez — whose fiancé, Karaine, gave birth to a daughter named Venus on Sunday in New Jersey — is expected to rejoin the Twins on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Arcia, though, said the coaching staff hasn’t discussed with him if there’s a chance he can stick on the roster if he impresses against the Angels.
“I really don’t know,” Arcia said. “Nobody has really told me.”
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins officially activated left-hander Scott Diamond from the 15-day disabled list before his start against the Mets on Saturday, and optioned right-hander Liam Hendriks to Triple-A Rochester to make room for him on the roster.
The Twins decided to option Hendriks instead of left-hander Pedro Hernandez, who gave up one run on four hits over 4 1/3 innings in long relief on Friday. Hernandez, who left the game with a left calf strain, is expected to join the rotation.
“Hernandez came in today and he’s fine,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He should be ready to pitch in four or five days. They’re thinking it’s a cramp or a slight strain but nothing bad. All the belief is that he’s fine and he’s throwing the ball fine so that made our decision.”
Gardenhire said he’s still working to sort out the rotation for the club’s upcoming series against the Angels, as Hendriks was slated to start on Tuesday. Gardenhire said it’s possible right-hander Vance Worley could start on short rest on Tuesday with Hernandez getting the start on Wednesday.
“We’re kind of ad-libbing here on how we’re going to run all this things there,” Gardenhire said. “Worley threw just 57 pitches last night so there’s a chance he could even come back Tuesday.”
Hendriks made two starts this season, posting a 4.66 ERA with five strikeouts and one walk in 9 2/3 innings. He fared well in his last outing against the Royals, as he gave up just one run, but he lasted just five innings.
“He has to make better use of his pitches and go deep into games,” Gardenhire said. “The last outing was better where he moved the ball in and used his breaking ball to keep hitters off-balance. He just has to start doing that from inning one. So he’ll have to go down to Triple-A and work on that.”
1. Collin Cowgill, CF
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. John Buck, C
5. Lucas Duda, LF
6. Marlon Byrd, RF
7. Ike Davis, 1B
8. Justin Turner, DH
9. Ruben Tejada, SS
RHP Matt Harvey
1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Joe Mauer, DH
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Chris Parmelee, RF
8. Brian Dozier, 2B
9. Eduardo Escobar, SS
LHP Scott Diamond
MINNEAPOLIS — When Twins manager Ron Gardenhire unveiled his lineup for Opening Day against the Tigers this morning, there was a surprise with catcher Joe Mauer getting the start as the club’s second hitter for just the 74th time in his career.
Mauer, who hit second only 10 times over the previous three seasons, got the nod in the two-hole with second baseman Brian Dozier sliding down from second to bat eighth against Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
“I want him to bat first, second and third but I can only bat him in one place, so we chose second,” Gardenhire joked. “As [hitting coach Tom] Brunansky and I talked, we talked about ‘ambush.’ So we’re going to ambush at the top with all these hitters and go from there.”
Mauer, who led the American League with a .416 on-base percentage in 2012, said he’s fine with the move to the second spot in the lineup behind rookie Aaron Hicks and in front of sluggers Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit.
“I told Gardy that I don’t have a problem wherever he puts me in the lineup, as long as I’m in the lineup,” Mauer said. “And what gives us our best chance to score runs, so hopefully we can get some runs.”
Gardenhire, though, said the move isn’t permanent and Mauer can move down to his usual third spot in the lineup if someone like Dozier proves capable of batting second.
“It’s for today, and we can always adjust as we go along,” Gardenhire said.
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Torii Hunter, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Price Fielder, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Andy Dirks, LF
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Omar Infante, 2B
RHP Justin Verlander
1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, DH
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Chris Parmelee, RF
8. Brian Dozier, 2B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS
RHP Vance Worley
BRADENTON, Fla. — Right-hander Vance Worley turned in his best outing of the spring on Wednesday against the Pirates, and was rewarded after the game by being named Minnesota’s Opening Day starter.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made the announcement that Worley, who gave up two runs on five hits over five innings against the Pirates, will take the mound for the Twins on Monday against the Tigers at Target Field.
But it wasn’t exactly a surprise considering Worley has been lined up for that outing for the last few weeks, and was the top candidate to make that start with left-hander Scott Diamond on the disabled list to start the season after having a bone chip removed from his elbow in December.
“Worley threw the ball well and he’s going to be the Opening Day starter,” Gardenhire said. “I thought today he had his best stuff with his breaking ball and all that. So a good day for him.”
Worley, who was acquired in the trade that sent Ben Revere to Philadelphia, finishes spring with a 5.73 ERA in Grapefruit League play. But Worley said he’s satisfied with where he’s at heading into the regular season, especially coming off his best start of the spring.
“I’m excited,” Worley said. “Especially after the spring I had, I finally got some kinks out and threw the ball well today.”