Twins sign veteran Grudzielanek to Minor League deal

The Twins have signed veteran second baseman Mark Grudzielanek to a Minor League deal, and will be assigning him to one of their Minor League affiliates shortly.

The move was first reported by longtime Twins blogger Seth Stohs (www.sethspeaks.net) and confirmed by Twins General Manager Bill Smith on Sunday afternoon.

Grudzielanek is expected to report to the Twins’ Gulf Coast League squad in Fort Myers, Fla., and he’ll then be assigned to one of the Twins’ minor-league affiliates.

Grudzielanek, 39, has not played this season but batted .299 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 86 games with the Kansas City Royals in 2008. During his 14 Major League seasons, he’s combined to hit .290 with 2,010 hits.

A Type B free agent this past offseason, Grudzielanek went unsigned until now after making $4.5 million with the Royals in 2008.
 
“He hasn’t played this year, but he’s been working out and he’s healthy,” Smith said. “We’re going to bring him down to Fort Myers and see what he does. He’s been a tremendous offensive player over the last seven to eight years.”

The signing of Grudzielanek gives the organization another potential middle infield option behind second baseman Alexi Casilla, who was just recalled from Triple-A Rochester over the weekend. Casilla, who is batting .175 in 36 games for the Twins this season, has been part of a rotating trio of second baseman that has also included Matt Tolbert and Nick Punto but that group has combined to hit just .190.

“Our hope is that Alexi Casilla takes the second base job and runs with it,” Smith said. “That’s our first choice. But if not, here is a guy that’s a proven Major League veteran. He’s hit over .290 every year since 2002 and so we’re going to get him out with one of our Minor League clubs.”

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