Twins exploring their options with Josmil Pinto

TORONTO — With Kendrys Morales set to be the everyday designated hitter for the Twins moving forward, the club is deciding what to do with rookie catcher Josmil Pinto.

Pinto started 19 games at designated hitter as a way to get his bat into the lineup with Kurt Suzuki serving as the primary catcher this season. Suzuki made his 46th start behind the plate on Wednesday with right-hander Phil Hughes on the mound, while Pinto has made just 18 starts at catcher this year.

“With Hughes going, I really wanted Suzuki to catch Hughes,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Pinto has been scuffling along with his throwing and all those things. We’re trying to do some work with him to get him straightened out a little bit. We talked to Suzuki about this and told him he might have to catch three this series until we get the kid straightened out.”

Pinto has had trouble defensively this year, as he’s yet to throw out an opposing base stealer in 16 attempts and also has made five errors. He’s also still working on his pitch calling and framing skills.

So the Twins could look to option him to Triple-A Rochester to get more consistent playing time and work on his defense. Triple-A catchers Eric Fryer and Chris Herrmann are both on the 40-man roster, and one of the two could be called up to replace Pinto.

Pinto, 25, also started off hot offensively but has cooled down since May 1. Some of his scuffles could come from a lack of consistent playing time but is hitting just .200/.227/.329 with two homers and seven RBIs in 23 games since May 1.

Gardenhire said a decision hasn’t been made on Pinto yet. But reading between the lines, it’s becoming more likely he’ll go down to Triple-A to continue his development.

“It’s all the things we’re talking about,” Gardenhire said. “We’re trying to figure out our route here. We’re trying to see how we can work him in and keep him developing, too. We’re working on it. The whole process.”

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