Arcia set for rehab assignment at Rochester
Outfielder takes batting practice at Target Field; Willingham feeling better
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia took batting practice on the field before Friday's game against the Tigers without any issues, and will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with Triple-A Rochester.
"Everything feels great so he's ready to go," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He did everything today without any issues. We'll ease him into the process with some at-bats at DH at first, and alternate from there."
Arcia, who is on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 5 with a right wrist strain, had been taking batting practice in the cages before progressing to on-field work on Friday. Manager Ron Gardenhire was pleased with what he saw, and said Arcia reported no problems after hitting.
"He felt nothing," Gardenhire said. "He was feeling great and letting it fly. So, he's getting close to playing some baseball here. We'll let him hit on the field for the next few days here and then if everything keeps going, we'll get him on his way and send him down to get some swings."
Fellow outfielder Josh Willingham, who is on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 7 with a small fracture in his left wrist, has yet to start taking batting practice, as he still feels tenderness in his wrist. But Gardenhire said Willingham could start swinging by early next week, and he is feeling better.
"He still has some point-soreness where the knob of the bat would be," Gardenhire said. "But it's almost down to nothing. But he holds the knob of the bat right on that spot. So, he'll see some doctors here maybe tomorrow, and he thinks early next week, he'll take some swings out there and then start a rehab after that."
Gardy happy with MLB clarifying transfer rule
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was pleased to see Major League Baseball's Playing Rules Committee clarify the transfer rule on Friday.
The rules committee determined that there is no requirement that a fielder has to successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it be ruled a catch on both fly balls and forceouts.
The clarified rule went into effect on Friday, after there was some debate early this season regarding the interpretation of the rule as part of this year's new replay rules.
"Common sense has come into play," Gardenhire said. "If a guy makes a catch and then runs 15 yards and drops the ball on the exchange, doesn't mean he didn't catch it. I talked to several umpires who said they hoped they'd change that rule."
The interpretation was discussed and agreed upon by MLB, the MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association.
Patient approach paying off for Twins hitters
MINNEAPOLIS -- A patient approach at the plate is helping the Twins this season, as they entered Friday's series opener against the Tigers leading the Majors in runs scored per game -- largely thanks to also leading baseball in walks and on-base percentage.
The Twins entered Friday averaging 5.52 runs per game, while also posting a .354 on-base percentage with 111 walks in 21 games.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said that patience is a major part of his club's strategy at the plate, and is happy to see the fruit of its labors early this season. The Twins also lead the Majors with 4.15 pitches seen per plate appearance.
"I think everybody is just trying to get on base and there's always conversation about it," Gardenhire said. "A lot of our hitters have a few more at-bats in this league and understand it a bit more. It's experience and not panicking in certain situations. They're doing a lot better at that. We're striking out a little too much, but that goes along with it by going deep in counts. But it's an effort, and it's experience."
Second baseman Brian Dozier is one of those developing players using walks to his advantage, as he's hitting just .224, but he has posted a .356 on-base percentage buoyed by 17 walks in 104 plate appearances. Dozier has walked in 16.3 percent of his plate appearances, which is almost more than double his 8.2 percent last year.
Dozier said it's part of a team effort to try to see more pitches and not swing at pitches they can't handle.
"We've been drawing a lot of walks, and not just ones of four straight pitches," Dozier said. "So, we're just putting together good at-bats."
• Twins general manager Terry Ryan, who had surgery to remove a cancerous mass from his neck on Feb. 11, finished his six weeks of radiation treatment on Wednesday. Ryan, 60, was originally diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in early February.
"I don't think he's feeling great, but I think he's feeling better every day," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "I think he was kind of warned that once you get through with this, the last week of it is pretty intense. I'm not sure what he's going to feel up to. He hasn't talked about it. This is all still part of the recovery. It's best if he doesn't try and overdo it and allows his body to recover."
• Top prospect Byron Buxton, who sprained his left wrist while diving for a ball in a Minor League Spring Training game on March 16, is set to play in his first extended spring training game on Saturday. Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB.com, has been taking batting practice without any issues, and was originally slated to play in his first game on Monday.