MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' infield became a complete turnover job Saturday night when second baseman Luis Rivas was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after a 5-4 win over the Angels.
The move was needed to make room for infielder Michael Cuddyer, who was called back from an injury rehabilitation assignment at Rochester and activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Batting .250 this season with no homers and eight RBIs in 48 games, the 25-year-old Rivas has struggled all season, both offensively and defensively. He didn't get his first extra-base hit of the season until July 9.
"Luis is going to go down and play every day in the Minor Leagues and get some swings in," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He'll see if he can continue working on his swing that he started doing the last few days. He needs to go play right now."
Rivas had already lost his starting job to Nick Punto by April and his roster spot was further squeezed this week when Bret Boone came over in a trade from Seattle. He was the odd man over rookie infielder Luis Rodriguez, who has played well since his callup in May.
The Twins signed Rivas in 1995 as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela and he became a fixture by 2001. Gardenhire warned before this season that Rivas needed to produce to keep his job.
"He needs to get himself back on track. Hopefully, he will," Gardenhire said. "He's a young enough player that this could help him out. We'll see what happens."
Rivas, who left without speaking to reporters after the game, had a promising 2001 rookie season when he batted .266 and stole 31 bases. But he was unable to put together consistent seasons since and saw his on-base percentage dip to .283 last season.
With Corey Koskie, double-play partner Cristian Guzman and Doug Mientkiewicz gone since this time last year, Rivas was the final 2004 regular infielder left on the 25-man roster this season.
Cuddyer went 1-for-9 on his rehab stint. He bruised his left hand when he was hit by a pitch June 29 against Kansas City. The 26-year-old lost his starting spot at third base before the injury. Gardenhire plans to rotate him around the infield.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.