FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins are down to just 26 healthy players in big league camp, as they reassigned right-handers Samuel Deduno and P.J. Walters to Minor League camp on Tuesday.
The roster moves leave the Twins with 29 players on the active roster but that includes injured pitchers Tim Wood, Rafael Perez and Rich Harden. Wood, who has a right rotator cuff strain, is expected to land on the 15-day disabled list, while Perez and Harden are both coming off shoulder surgery.
Walters and Deduno were both candidates to make the rotation but Walters needs time to build up his pitch count, and Deduno is currently out with a groin strain he suffered in the title game of the World Baseball Classic. Deduno started for the Dominican Republic.
"We want to stretch Walters out," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "He's had a pretty decent camp but he's behind a couple guys. And Deduno has a sore groin. So we'll go over there and get him healthy and see how things go. It's unfortunate because he had such a good WBC, but there's nothing we can do now."
So the Twins essentially have to make only one more roster decision before Opening Day, which is Monday against the Tigers at Target Field. It's expected to be a pitcher, and the most likely candidate is left-handed reliever Tyler Robertson, who has a 6.75 ERA in 10 2/3 innings this spring.
It also means that Eduardo Escobar will make the club as a utility infielder, and Wilkin Ramirez will make the club as a fifth outfielder despite the fact he's not on the 40-man roster.
Right-handers Liam Hendriks and Cole De Vries are also expected to make the rotation now that Deduno and Walters will start the year at Triple-A Rochester.
"They've got themselves in a good spot," Ryan said. "I'll put it that way."
Hendriks leaves start with bruised right hand
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Liam Hendriks left Tuesday's start against the Orioles in the third inning after being struck on his right hand with a line drive hit by Brian Roberts. He's considered day to day.
Hendriks said he was using his right hand to protect his face from getting hit. But he said he was lucky it was only a bruise that left his pinkie finger slightly swollen.
"I decided to stop it with my hand instead of my face," Hendriks said. "I had my hand in front of my glove that was in front of my face."
Hendriks, who appeared to be the club's top candidate for a back end of the rotation spot before the game, said he hopes to throw his scheduled bullpen session on Thursday. He was pitching well prior to being hit by the comebacker, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and struck out two while improving his spring ERA to 4.15.
"It was just precautionary," said Hendriks about coming out of a game he was scheduled to throw 85-90 pitches in. "I feel fine. The ball was coming out good. It was just one of those things where they took me out just in case it was something more serious. But the pitch count thing does stink a little bit."
Hendriks said he still hasn't been told if he's made the team yet. The Twins reassigned right-handers Samuel Deduno and P.J. Walters to Minor League camp before Tuesday's game, which appeared to open the door for him to make the rotation.
"I have no idea yet," Hendriks said. "It's still up in the air. Obviously, it stinks. But at least it was a scoreless outing."
Prospect Sano impressive in spring debut
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Top prospect Miguel Sano made his second appearance in a Grapefruit League game on Tuesday against the Orioles. He had an RBI fielder's choice, a single and a run in five at-bats.
Sano, 19, made his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday against the Yankees in Tampa and went 2-for-5 while making a few nice defensive plays at third base.
Sano, ranked as Minnesota's No. 1 prospect and the No. 12 overall prospect according to MLB.com, is expected to start the year at Class A Advanced Fort Myers.
But Twins general manager Terry Ryan said the club hasn't officially decided where he'll start the season, and that he was in the lineup on Tuesday simply because the club needed a third baseman with Trevor Plouffe on the bench.
"It isn't anything other than that we needed a third baseman today," Ryan said. "It's just that time of spring. If someone else needed at-bats we'd bring them over here. But Sano is obviously a guy we think highly of. There's nothing wrong with our fan base getting a chance to see him."