ByungHo Park apparently didn't do enough to earn a spot on the Twins 25-man Opening Day roster.
The Twins are keeping 13 pitchers – LaVelle Neal reports that lefty Adalberto Mejia has won the fifth starter job – and Park is being optioned to the minors following a huge spring in which he hit .353 with 6 homers, 2 doubles and 13 RBI.
More importantly, he struck out at a lower rate than he did in his stint at the big-league level last season. This spring, Park has 15 strikeouts in 51 at-bats (29%). He struck out 80 times in 215 at-bats (37%) while hitting .191 in 62 games before getting sent down last season.
"He had a nice camp," Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey explained to KFAN radio Thursday morning. "We're happy to see him continue to progress and we expect him to continue to do that in Rochester. We're not shutting the door on ByungHo Park."
Park not making the 25-man roster is more shocking because Kennys Vargas, a power-hitting switch hitter, is hurt and will likely be optioned to the minors or start the season on the disabled list. That leaves the Twins with Robbie Grossman as the primary designated hitter.
With 13 pitchers the Twins only have three bench players: catcher Chris Gimenez, infielder Eduardo Escobar and utility player Danny Santana.
Tyler Duffey is the 13th pitcher. He'll be used as a long reliever and emergency starter.
Here's the official announcement from the Twins.
"The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have optioned catcher John Ryan Murphy to Triple-A Rochester. Additionally, they have reassigned catcher Eddy Rodriguez, infielders Bengie Gonzalez, Matt Hague, ByungHo Park and Ben Paulsen, and outfielder J.B. Shuck to minor league camp.
Additionally, the Twins have placed infielder Ehire Adrianza (right oblique strain) and left-handed pitcher Ryan O’Rourke (left forearm strain) on the 10-day disabled list. Adrianza and O’Rourke will be eligible to return from the disabled list on April 9."