By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins have avoided arbitration with outfielder Jason Repko and right-hander Pat Neshek.
The club agreed to terms Thursday with Repko on a one-year, $600,000 contract and with Neshek on a one-year, $625,000 deal.
Repko and Neshek are two of the 10 arbitration-eligible players that the Twins had to decide whether to tender a contract to by 10:59 p.m. CT on Thursday night.
The Twins will likely tender contracts to the majority of their remaining arbitration-eligible players by the deadline, including shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Repko, who will turn 30 later this month, filled the role as the Twins’ fourth outfielder, playing all three outfield positions, after being called up to the Majors in June. He batted .228 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 58 games for the Twins.Last season, Repko earned $500,000 and he was primarily used as a defensive replacement late in games.
Neshek, 30, spent the majority of last season at Triple-A Rochester in what was his first year back following Tommy John surgery. He posted a 5.00 ERA in 11 relief appearances with the Twins (nine innings) and had a 3.89 ERA in 30 appearances for Rochester. His $625,000 for the 2011 season is the same amount that he made in 2010.
UPDATE: Twins tendered contracts to the remaining 26 players on their 40-man roster for the 2011 season, including Hardy. Clay Condrey, who had been thought to be a non-tender candidate, was actually outrighted off the roster a month ago and elected to become a free agent. The Twins now have seven remaining arbitration-eligible players: pitchers Matt Capps, Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey, outfielder Delmon Young and infielders Alexi Casilla and Hardy
I chatted with Pat Neshek yesterday at the Metrodome, as he was in town to see Twins physician Dr. Dan Buss.
The visit was for Neshek, who underwent Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery last November, to get clearance to begin throwing off a mound.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Saturday that Neshek did indeed get clearance, although he’ll start by throwing just fastballs at first and working up to throwing breaking pitches again.
Neshek said that with his current program he’ll be “game-ready” by mid-November but the plan is not to have him pitch any winter ball. Instead, he’ll remain in Fort Myers during the winter to work with Twins Minor League rehab coordinator Lanny Tucker so that he’ll be ready to go at the start of Spring Training.
While everything has been going well in his rehab process, Neshek said he’s had a mild case of tendinitis in his right elbow. But he spoke with a couple other Twins pitchers who had Tommy John, Carl Pavano and Jeff Manship, and both told Neshek that it’s normal for that to happen in the recovery process.
“There is nothing wrong with the ligament where i had the surgery,” Neshek said. “The doctors say that’s really strong. So I can work with a little tendinitis.”
Having not pitched for the Twins since May 2008, Neshek acknowledges that this process hasn’t been completely easy on him. But he’s looking forward to finally getting back with the team in February.
“It’s a long road,” Neshek said. “I’m just taking it day by day
right now. I just want to feel like I felt [before the elbow injury] and it’s starting to feel like that already. I have
no clue how my arm’s going to respond. If it goes according to plan,
I’ll be good to go in Spring Training.”