October 2011

Twins claim LHP Maloney, RHP Gray off waivers

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins claimed left-hander Matt Maloney off waivers from the Reds and right-hander Jeff Gray off waivers from the Mariners, the club announced Monday.

Maloney, 27, made eight appearances (two starts) for the Reds, going 0-3 with a 9.16 ERA and four walks and 13 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. He also made 14 appearances (13 starts) for Triple-A Louisville, going 7-1 with a 2.99 ERA with 11 walks and 51 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings.

Maloney was the first to break the news that he was headed to Minnesota, as he announced it to his followers on Twitter hours before the Twins confirmed the move.

“thanks for everything reds…..but i am now a Minnesota Twin!!! looking forward to a great new opportunity!!” Maloney wrote on Twitter.

Gray, 29, appeared in 24 games with the Mariners, posting a 4.89 ERA with 17 walks and 16 strikeouts in 35 innings. He also made six appearances with the White Sox, posting a 2.70 ERA with four walks and seven strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings before being claimed off waivers by Seattle on May 13.

Twins decline Nathan’s option

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins declined closer Joe Nathan’s $12.5 million club option for the 2012 season, the club announced today.

The Twins will instead exercise a $2 million buyout on Nathan’s option, which makes the veteran right-hander a free agent.

Minnesota, though, can still retain Nathan by signing him to a new deal, and general manager Bill Smith said the Twins are interesting in bringing back Nathan.

“I spoke with Joe and his agent this morning, and expressed our interest in re-signing Joe,” Smith said. “We will remain in contact with them as we move forward into the free agent process”

Nathan, who turns 37 next month, posted a 4.84 ERA with 13 saves in 48 appearances totaling 44 2/3 innings last season. He pitched much better after a stint on the disabled list that began in late May after suffering a setback related to the Tommy John surgery that kept him out of action in 2010.

After making his return on June 25, Nathan posted a 3.38 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 11 walks in 31 appearances over 29 1/3 innings while converting 11 of 12 save opportunities.

The 11-year veteran is the Twins’ all-time save leader with 260 saves in seven seasons in Minnesota. He picked up save No. 255 on Aug. 10 to become the franchise’s all-time save leader, passing Rick Aguilera, who the set the previous record with 254 saves from 1989-98.

Dinkelman, Dumatrait outrighted to Triple-A Rochester

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins announced today that they outrighted infielder/outfielder Brian Dinkelman and left-handed pitcher Phil Dumatrait to Triple-A Rochester.

As a result of the roster moves, the Twins have 36 players on their 40-man roster. They also outrighted catcher Rene Rivera, infielder Matt Tolbert, outfielder Jason Repko, and right-hander Anthony Slama to Triple-A Rochester last week while reinstating right-hander Nick Blackburn (forearm surgery) and second baseman Alexi Casilla (right hamstring strain) from the 60-day disabled list.

Dinkelman, 27, played in 23 games with the Twins, batting .301 with a .346 on-base percentage and .315 slugging percentage. Dinkelman, who saw time at second base and both corner outfield positions, also had four RBIs and two stolen bases.

He was originally called up on June 3, but was outrighted to Triple-A on June 17 to make room for catcher Joe Mauer, who was activated from the 60-day DL. Dinkelman was called up for a second time on Sept. 5 after hitting .243/.316/.324 with three homers, 41 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 127 games with Rochester.

Dumatrait, 30, spent most of the season with the Twins, posting a 3.92 ERA in 45 appearances. The left-hander struck out 29 and walked 25 while allowing seven homers in 41 1/3 innings. He also made 15 appearances with Rochester, posting a 1.15 ERA with 12 strikeouts and 11 walks in 15 2/3 innings before being recalled on May 16.

Valencia, Butera to represent MLB in trip to Taiwain

Twins third baseman Danny Valenica and catcher Drew Butera are headed to Taiwan to play against the Chinese Taipei national team in the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series early next month.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced today the majority of the team of MLB All-Stars traveling to Taiwan in November.

The Taiwan All-Star Series will consist of five games played between Nov. 1-6 in three different cities — New Taipei City (XinZhuang Stadium) on Nov. 1, Taichung (Intercontinental Stadium) on Nov. 3 and 4 and Kaohsiung (Chengcing Lake Stadium) on Nov. 5 and 6.

Each game will feature MLB All-Stars playing the Chinese Taipei national team and all games will be broadcast live in Taiwan by FTV, MLB’s exclusive over-the-air broadcaster for regular season and postseason games.

Valencia is one of three third basemen on the roster, joining Arizona’s Ryan Roberts and San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval. Valencia, 27, hit .246 with a .294 on-base percentage and a .383 slugging percentage with 15 homers and 72 RBIs in 154 games.

Butera, 28, joins Angels backstop Jeff Mathis as one of two catchers on the roster. Butera batted .167/.210/.239 with two homers and 23 RBIs in 93 games.

The roster is headlined by Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson — who led the Majors in runs scored (136) and ranked second in the Majors with 41 home runs — and his teammate Robinson Cano, who was second in the American League with 118 RBIs. Tigers first baseman and AL batting champion (.344) Miguel Cabrera, currently playing in the American League Championship Series, will make the trip subject to his postseason commitments.

Others on the roster, which is not yet complete, are infielders Erick Aybar (Angels), Michael Morse (Nationals), Skip Schumaker (Cardinals); outfielders Emilio Bonifacio (Marlins) and Logan Morrison (Marlins); and pitchers Bill Bray (Reds), Ross Detwiler (Nationals), Dillon Gee (Mets), Jeremy Guthrie (Orioles), Mark Melancon (Astros) and Jose Veras (Pirates).

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who guided San Francisco to its first World Championship since 1954 in ‘10, will manage the MLB All-Stars. Bochy’s coaching staff will be composed of Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Giants bullpen catcher Billy Hayes, Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton.

The remainder of the roster will be announced in the coming weeks.

Twins make first offseason roster moves

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins announced today they outrighted catcher Rene Rivera, infielder Matt Tolbert, outfielder Jason Repko, and right-hander Anthony Slama to Triple-A Rochester.

Additionally, the Twins reinstated right-hander Nick Blackburn (forearm surgery) and second baseman Alexi Casilla (right hamstring strain) from the 60-day disabled list. As a result of their roster moves, the Twins now have 38 players on their 40-man roster.

Rivera, 28, appeared in 45 games with the Twins, hitting .144 with a .211 on-base percentage and .202 slugging percentage with one homer and five RBIs.

Tolbert, 29, hit .198/.252/.266 with five RBIs and three stolen bases in 87 games while seeing time at second base, shortstop and third base.

Repko, 30, battled various injuries during the regular season, playing in 67 games and batting .226/.270/.286 with two homers and 11 RBIs.

Slama, meanwhile, made just two relief appearances with the Twins, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings. The 27-year-old, who saw his season end in early July with a strained muscle in his right elbow, posted a 2.92 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 16 walks in 37 innings with Triple-A Rochester.

Dozier, Hendriks earn Twins’ top Minor League honors

The Twins on Thursday named infielder Brian Dozier the Sherry Robertson Award winner as their Minor League Player of the Year, and right-hander Liam Hendriks the Jim Rantz Award winner as the Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Dozier, 24, started the season at Class A Fort Myers where he hit .322 with a .423 on-base percentage and .472 slugging percentage with two homers, 22 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 49 games. He then was promoted to Double-A New Britain on June 6, and batted .318/.384/.502 with seven homers, 34 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 78 games.

He combined to bat .320/.399/.491 with 33 doubles, 12 triples, nine home runs and 56 RBIs in 127 games this season, while playing 93 games at shortstop, 28 games at second base, three games at third base and four games as designated hitter.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder was also the club’s Minor League Player of the Month for May, batting .337 with seven doubles, three triples and 11 RBIs in 27 games with the Miracle. Dozier, who was the club’s eighth-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, led all Twins Minor Leaguers in triples (12) and runs scored (92), was tied for first in stolen bases (24) and second in total bases (241).

Hendriks, 22, who was ranked by MLB.com as the Twins’ sixth-best prospect, began the year at New Britain and went 8-2 with a 2.70 ERA with 81 strikeouts compared to 18 walks over 90 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A Rochester on July 19, and went 4-4 with a 4.56 ERA with 30 strikeouts and three walks in 49 1/3 innings.

The Perth, Australia, native made his Major League debut on Sept 6, and made four starts down the stretch, posting a 6.17 ERA with 16 strikeouts and six walks over 23 1/3 innings.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder was the club’s Minor League Player of the Week for June 4-10, going 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA over two starts. He was second among all Twins Minor Leaguers in wins (12) and strikeouts (111). Hendriks was signed by the Twins as a non-drafted free agent out of Sacred Heart College in Australia in 2007.

The Sherry Robertson Award, named in honor of the Twins’ first farm director, was established in 1970 to recognize the organization’s top Minor League performer each season. Beginning in 2002, the award began recognizing the club’s Minor League Player of the Year, while an additional award was created to recognize the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year, which was named in honor of current Twins Minor League director Jim Rantz.

Both Dozier and Hendriks, along with the club’s other 2011 award winners, will be recognized at the Seventh Annual Diamond Awards dinner, which will be held on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT at Target Field.