It's been decided, reliever Jose Mijares won't open the season with the Twins while catcher Jose Morales will. Mijares was thought of early in the off-season to be a 'lock' for a spot in the Twins' bullpen, but after both his physic and ERA ballooned this Spring, the Twins made the decision to let him work out his problems in the minor leagues. The team still has a couple notable candidates including Philip Humber, R.A. Dickey and Brian Duensing still with the team, but it's expected that the bullpen will be set within the next couple days.
Morales on the other hand was fighting for the backup catcher role and the offensive-first catcher beat out defensive-first catcher Drew Butera for the spot. Despite hitting a modest .250/.240/.250 in 24 Spring at bats, while his counterpart hit .385/.438/.462 through 13 Spring at-bats. Still, minor league stats suggest that Morales is by far the better offensive catcher. Morales has spent 8 years in the Twins system while Butera has been in the system for a year-and-a-half, which definitely played a role in the decision making processes.
The Twins also cut infielder Alejandro Machado. Machado came to the Twins as a Rule V Draft choice prior to the 2007 season. The soon-to-be 27-year-old spent all of the 2007 season on the disabled list but hit .338/.376/.472 with 20 extra-base hits in 54 games with the Rochester Red Wings last season. He didn't make a great impression in Spring Training at the plate going 3-21.
According to Seth Stohs of Seth Speaks, announced that the Twins have released a few players. Most notably, the Twins parted ways with St. Olaf alumn Andrew Schmiesing and catcher Greg Yersich.
Yersich cracked my Top 55 Twins Prospects List in 2008 at #55. Here's what I had to say about him then:
Greg Yerisch was drafed by the Twins in the 7th round of the 2005 draft (225th overall). He had a lot of success for the Elizabethton Twins in 2007 as he hit .312/.373/.409 with 14 extra base hits and 30 RBI's. He'll likely start the season as the Beloit Snappers starting catcher, but with success in the first half of the season, we could be seeing him in Ft. Myers before the end of the season. I expect him to move up fairly quickly. He's another guy I don't expect to sit in the 50's for long on my prospect list. He will likely climb a substantial number this season if he can duplicate anything near his number in Elizabethton.Unfortunately, 2008 was an injury-ridden season for Yersich and when he was healthy he showed nowhere near the same kind of success at the plate that he had in Elizabethton in 2007. That along with a large number of catchers in the lower Minor League ranks in the Twins organization made it a tough but understandable decision.
Schmiesing ended his Twins career with a hitting line of .275/.361/.320 through 316 at-bats since being drafted in the 11th round of the 2007 draft. The Twins have an abundance of outfielders that could be heading to Single-A this season and they just woulnd't be able to find playing time of all of them.
Make sure to check Seth Speaks to find out the other players let go by the Twins. One is a brother of a player that cracked my Top 50 Twins Prospect list.