The Twins announced Wednesday afternoon that pitcher Bobby Korecky had been assigned to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a waiver claim.
The move signifies that the Twins officially signed right-hander Luis Ayala to his one-year, $1.3 million contract. Ayala has been in camp since Sunday but his deal had not yet been finalized. To make room for Ayala on the 40-man roster, the Twins put Korecky on waivers and he was claimed by Arizona. Korecky was 2-0 with a 4.58 ERA in 16 appearances for the Twins last season.
I’ll have more details on the move after we meet with general manager Bill Smith later this afternoon.
UPDATE: The Twins still haven’t officially signed Ayala. The club is just waiting on the official contract to come through from MLB so that it can be signed. That should happen very soon. The signing is close enough that Smith did talk about the pitcher and that will be in the story I’ll file a little later.
Spring Training is a time for new beginnings and one of the most inspiring stories of this spring is taking place on the back fields of the Lee County Sports Complex.
Former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie is working out there, with the Twins permission, as he tries to make Team Canada for next month’s World Baseball Classic.
Koskie, 35, hasn’t played in a Major League game since July 5, 2006 when, as the Brewers third baseman, he suffered a concussion that left him with dizziness and headaches that would not go away. After two-plus seasons out of baseball, Koskie hopes that the Classic could be a showcase for him and might lead to him getting another shot in the big leagues.
The fact that Koskie is even back on a baseball field is inspiring to anyone that watched him go through his rough ordeal — when he couldn’t drive at times or even play with his kids. One person that is particularly encouraged by Koskie’s latest step is Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
“He’s one of the all-time favorites,” Gardenhire said. “It’s nice to see him back on the field. He’s been going through a lot. That’s the big thing with Koskie. It’s actually good to see him not bouncing off the walls when he’s walking down the hallway because he’s dizzy.”
It was a little bit of a busy day so I didn’t get to watch much of the pitchers fielding work today. Most of the position players have already arrived (some new faces on Tuesday were Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe and Deibinson Romero). While the pitchers worked out, the position guys spent the morning doing some work on the back fields of the complex. I think I’ve counted seven players who I haven’t seen in the clubhouse yet: Denard Span, Delmon Young, Jason Pridie, Dustin Martin, Danny Valencia, David Winfree and Alejandro Machado. Position players must report by Friday so it’s likely we’ll see more of these players starting to arrive in the next few days.
Here are a few other things that were noteworthy on Day 2 of camp:
- Twins general manager Bill Smith said that the club expects to finalize Luis Ayala’s contract soon, possibly as early as Wednesday. The final medical report on Ayala is expected at that time. When the signing is completed, the Twins will have to create a spot on the 40-man roster for him. It’s still unclear which player might be outrighted or released to make room for the pitcher.
- When answering the questions about players taking part in the World Baseball Classic, Gardenhire joked that he’s most concerned about his players facing each other in the event. Closer Joe Nathan could pitch to first baseman Justin Morneau when Team USA plays Team Canada in the opening round in Toronto. And they’ve already kidded about what might happen at that point. “My guys are talking about buzzing each other now,” Gardenhire said while shaking his head.
The quietest day of Spring Training is always the day that pitchers and catchers report. While players have to technically be in Fort Myers, they aren’t required to be at the ballpark – let alone to work out. Usually the Twins have a few guys who, in addition to unpacking their lockers, head out to the fields to get a little throwing in, but it’s not an organized effort.
However this year was a little different than most. By around 11:00 a.m. there was a large group of pitchers who had gathered inside the clubhouse at Hammond Stadium and most of them proceeded out to the practice fields. It included a range of players from closer Joe Nathan to starter Scott Baker and even newcomers like Jason Jones and Sean Henn.
Of course, Reporting Day is also the day to catch up and chat with some of the guys that you haven’t seen in months. One of the guys that everyone looks forward to sitting down and talking to is Mike Redmond as he can always be counted on for an interesting conversation.
A funny exchange occurred on Sunday when Redmond walked back into the clubhouse following his workout. Joe Mauer was sitting at his locker, which is next to Redmond’s, and had a glove waiting to hand to him. It was bigger than most catcher’s gloves and without having to see the name “Dickey” inscribed on the glove, Redmond knew exactly what it meant — time to start catching the knuckleball.
“We almost put a Mirabelli tag above your locker,” Mauer joked.
Redmond isn’t a stranger to knuckleballers like R.A. Dickey, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee. When he was with the Marlins, he caught Dennis Springer who was the club’s No. 5 starter in 1999. I chatted with Redmond a little bit about catching a knuckleball and he said that it takes some time to get adjusted to seeing that movement again. Mauer was a little disappointed that he won’t get to spend as much time catching Dickey this spring since he’ll be limited in his workload.
The glove was given to Mauer by R.A. Dickey, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee. Normally, Redmond said, knuckleballers don’t give catchers gloves. But it happened to be a good thing that Dickey had an extra one, since the ones that Mauer and Redmond ordered had not yet arrived.
In terms of news on Sunday, it was a pretty quiet day. Mauer was waiting to find out what he would be able to do during Monday’s first workout for pitchers and catchers. Right-hander Luis Ayala arrived at camp and is waiting for his contract to be finalized. He’s scheduled to take his physical on Monday and then the Twins will have to make a corresponding move to make room for him on the 40-man roster.