Catcher quandary: Pinto pulled off winter league team

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After missing out on both A.J. Pierzynski and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in this offseason's free-agent catcher sweepstakes, Minnesota currently rests with rookie backstop Josmil Pinto as their starter for the 2014 season.

With Pinto's youth and inexperience having played in just 21 major league games, the Twins were hoping to get him a full winter of playing time and see consistent offensive performances, to prove those 21 games in 2013 were not an aberration.

No such luck.

Hitting just .179 in the Venezuelan Winter League, Pinto was pulled off the Aragua Tigers roster by the Twins Wednesday, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.

Pinto had been battling a sore throwing shoulder for the last four weeks, and while a reason wasn't given for Pinto's withdrawal from the roster, it is believed to be related to the injury.

A similar situation happened earlier this offseason with Twins super-prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, who were both pulled from their winter league teams and shut down with nagging arm issues.

With management at the MLB Winter Meetings, it was not immediately clear if Pinto would follow Sano and Buxton's paths and be shut down for health reasons.

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