Notes: Bartlett optioned to Rochester

Notes: Bartlett optioned to Rochester

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins decided Thursday to option shortstop Jason Bartlett to Triple-A Rochester after the rookie battled lately with confidence issues.

Middle infielder Luis Rodriguez was called up from Rochester to replace Bartlett. He will be available to play Friday.

After winning the shortstop job in a four-way battle during Spring Training, Bartlett started out hot before steadily declining once opposing pitchers started making adjustments. He batted .242 in 26 games this season and also made some defensive mistakes in the field.

"We talked about him getting back to being the offensive player he is," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He tried to do little things up here, shoot the ball the other way, maybe a little too much. We really believe Bart will be a very good offensive player in the big leagues."

As he packed up his belongings from his locker, Bartlett understood the need for the move.

"Offensively, I lost my approach," Bartlett said. "I lost my swing. I was trying to overcome the scouting reports. I kind of lost everything. I have to go back and find it."

Juan Castro assumed Bartlett's starting role last weekend. Although Castro lacks offensive strengths, Gardenhire liked how the defensive-minded veteran solidified his young infield.

"He's not just making plays, but helping the other guys out," Gardenhire said. "That's what we kind of need right now, because we are a little unsettled."

The organization did not want Bartlett to sit on the bench watching Castro play. The 25-year-old will get everyday at-bats at Rochester.

"If I go down there and play every day, hopefully it won't take very long if I'm swinging well," Bartlett said.

Rodriguez file: Rodriguez has batted .287 with 15 RBIs in 33 games at Rochester this season. He has spent his entire career in the Twins' Minor League system since he was signed out of Venezuela in 1997.

The 24-year-old Rodriguez, a career .273 hitter in the Minors, is also a switch-hitter who than can play both shortstop and second base.

"He's a very good-looking young player," Gardenhire said. "He's playing very good down there."

The Twins contemplated sending Bartlett down earlier this week, but had to wait when they learned Rodriguez suffered back spasms during a game Tuesday. The injury was later not deemed serious, which cleared the way for the roster move.

Redmond producing: Getting a start behind the plate in place of Joe Mauer on Thursday, backup catcher Mike Redmond went 2-for-4. Redmond has quietly produced for the Twins this season, batting .308 while collecting hits in five of the eight games he's played.

"I like Redmond," Gardenhire said. "I think he's done very well here. I think he's very professional. I think he does a very good job with the pitchers."

Redmond, a seven-year veteran formerly with the Marlins, was signed to a two-year deal in the offseason when Henry Blanco's services could not be retained.

"We're pretty happy to have him here," Gardenhire said. "We've been fortunate. We had Henry here last year, who we absolutely fell in love with. Unfortunately, we lost him and we brought in Redmond. He's been really cool too, our backup catching system is going OK."

Still cookin': By beating Blue Jays southpaw Gustavo Chacin in a 13-pitch at-bat with a bases-loaded two-run double, Twins third baseman Michael Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to eight games. Cuddyer is batting .373 (19-for-51) in May.

Briefly: After two strikeouts that killed a bases-loaded rally in the third vs. Toronto, Cuddyer's hit left the Twins hitting .184 (9-for-49) this season with the bases full.

Second baseman Nick Punto said his strained right calf was feeling better Thursday. Punto has missed the last three games, but still hopes to return to the lineup Friday.

Coming up: It's time for Interleague Play. The Twins will meet regional rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, for three games at the Metrodome this weekend. Carlos Silva will pitch for Minnesota against Gary Glover in Friday's 7:10 p.m. CT series opener.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.