Buxton headlines non-roster invitees to spring camp
Prized outfielder to be joined by fellow Twins prospects Sano, Meyer in Fort Myers
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are set to get a look at their future in Spring Training this year.
Top prospects Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer are among the 23 non-roster Twins players invited to Major League Spring Training, the club announced Thursday.
It marks the first invite to the start of big league camp for all three players, who each had a taste of Grapefruit League action last year.
Buxton, ranked as the game's top prospect by MLB.com, is one of six non-roster outfielders invited to Spring Training. The 20-year-old is coming off a huge year in which he hit a combined .334/.424/.520 with 12 homers, 19 doubles, 18 triples and 55 stolen bases in 125 games between Class A Cedar Rapids and Class A Advanced Fort Myers.
Other outfielders invited to big league camp include Jason Kubel, Darin Mastroianni, Jermaine Mitchell, Chris Rahl and Wilkin Ramirez.
Kubel, who played with Minnesota from 2004-11, joined the Twins on a Minor League deal signed in December. Mastroianni and Ramirez were with the Twins in '13 before being outrighted off the 40-man roster this offseason. Mitchell played 43 games for Triple-A Rochester last season, while Rahl was signed as a Minor League free agent after nine seasons in the Minors with Arizona and Philadelphia.
Sano, 20, is ranked as baseball's No. 3 overall prospect by MLB.com after hitting .280/.383/.610 with 35 homers, 30 doubles and 103 RBIs in 123 games between Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain. He's currently rehabbing a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, but the Twins remain hopeful he'll be able to avoid surgery and will be ready for the start of Spring Training.
Sano is one of six infielders invited to camp, joining Jason Bartlett, James Beresford, Doug Bernier, Deibinson Romero and Brandon Waring. Bartlett, like Kubel, is trying to latch on with his former club, as he played with the Twins from 2004-07 and signed a Minor League contract in November.
Beresford, Bernier and Romero all were in the organization last year, with Bernier seeing action in 33 games with the Twins. Waring was signed as a Minor League free agent after spending the last five seasons in Baltimore's system.
Meyer, meanwhile, is ranked as Minnesota's No. 3 prospect and baseball's No. 32 prospect by MLB.com. The 6-foot-9 right-hander posted a 3.21 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 70 innings with New Britain but missed time with a shoulder strain. He finished the season healthy, though, and went on to post a 3.12 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 26 innings in the Arizona Fall League.
Meyer is one of seven pitchers invited to big league camp, joining left-handers Sean Gilmartin, Matt Hoffman and Aaron Thompson and right-handers Deolis Guerra, Lester Oliveros and Yohan Pino.
Gilmartin was acquired in the trade that sent Ryan Doumit to the Braves, while Hoffman and Pino were signed as Minor League free agents. Guerra and Oliveros are both coming off injuries, while Thompson made a combined 42 appearances for New Britain and Triple-A Rochester last year.
The Twins are inviting four non-roster catchers, as Kyle Knudson, Matt Koch, Dan Rohlfing and Stuart Turner were all invited to camp. All four were in the organization last year, including Turner, who was the club's third-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
The Twins also announced that Tom Kelly, Tony Oliva, Eddie Guardado and Rod Carew will be back as instructors during Spring Training.
Twins pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 16, with workouts starting on Feb. 17. The rest of the team reports on Feb. 21, with the first full-squad workout taking place on Feb. 22.
The Twins have a 31-game Grapefruit League schedule and open their spring home season on March 1 against the Red Sox at Hammond Stadium.