FORT MYERS, Fla. — Lucas Duda’s short time with the Minnesota Twins has ended, as the Twins informed the veteran first baseman before their 6-5 exhibition loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, March 20, that he would not make the roster, granting him his release.
Duda, 33, was an XX(B) free agent, a free agent with six or more years of Major League service time who finished the previous season on a 40-man roster or 60-day injured list and signed a minor league deal. In those cases, five days prior to the season, teams must either pay the player a $100,000 retention bonus, add him to the 25-man roster or grant him his release to pursue opportunities.
“Lucas has been a tremendous teammate, veteran guy, good fit down there, quality person,” Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. “He and (manager) Rocco (Baldelli) have a great relationship. Lucas was truly appreciative of the opportunity he had here.”
The Twins decided to release Duda, who hit .258 this spring. Falvey said Duda, who has played for four teams over nine seasons, mostly with the New York Mets, would pursue other opportunities. But they’re not ruling out the possibility of bringing him back in some capacity if the situation allows for it.
“When we brought him into camp, the expectation was for him to potentially compete for one of those roles off the bench, but we’ve stayed relatively healthy in that space, so that changes the dynamic for any of these guys sometimes. I think he did enough,” Falvey said. “I’m really hopeful for Lucas because I think he’s as good a guy as you’re gonna find down there.”
He wasn’t Wednesday’s only cut, as the Twins continued to trim the number of players in big-league camp. Ryan Eades, Jake Reed, Justin Nicolino and Wynston Sawyer were sent back to minor league camp, leaving 36 players on the main roster.
As for when the Twins are going to make their final cuts and narrow down the rest of the roster, that likely will stretch past this weekend and into next week.
“My hope is we’re not running this thing right down to the end,” Falvey said. “I just think it’s good for guys, peace of mind or otherwise, the last few days. But you don’t want to make early decisions (when) you don’t have to on this stuff just in the event that anything could happen in any of these games.”
Moya to IL?
Gabriel Moya, who has been dealing with tightness in his shoulder, might start the season on the Injured List, Falvey said.
“With a couple of guys, we’re making sure we’re being a little more conservative rather than aggressive in their throwing,” Falvey said. “All our guys, with the exception of (Miguel) Sano, are more in the day-to-day bucket right now in determining where they fit, but it’s getting later in camp where we’re just not at a place where we’re putting him in games.”
In addition to Moya and Sano, Falvey suggested there could possibly be one more player who will start the year on the Injured List.
Fernando Romero ran into some troubles in his second straight outing on Wednesday, ballooning his spring earned-run average to 8.38.
Romero, 24, who started 11 games for the Twins last year, gave up four runs on three hits while walking two. He recorded two outs. On Sunday in Dunedin, he gave up five runs — four earned — without recording an out. He walked three in that outing.
“He’s had some very good appearances, and as we know, the stuff is exceptional. He’s had some appearances that I’m sure he would want to have back,” Baldelli said. “That happens. … He’s an extremely exciting young — he’s not a prospect — pitcher, and I’m certain that there are going to be many points this year where we’re going to rely on him in important situations at the big league level.”