Twins option Batista for assignment

Twins option Batista for assignment

MINNEAPOLIS -- The days of Tony Batista as a Twin appear to now be over.

Following their 5-2 victory over the Red Sox in 12 innings Tuesday night, the Twins announced that they had designated Batista for assignment and recalled shortstop Jason Bartlett from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot on the roster.

Bartlett will assume the starting shortstop spot from Juan Castro and provide what the Twins hope will be a jolt to a slumping offense.

"We need to change it up a little bit," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of his team. "Bartlett's been playing his tail off. We called down there today again, and he's doing everything you can possibly do, running all over the place, taking charge of the infield and doing what it takes to be a big-league shortstop. So that's what we're hoping for."

In 58 games with the Red Wings this season, Bartlett batted .306, including a 1-for-4 performance in a game Tuesday against Indianapolis. His 23 doubles also lead the International League.

The Twins now have 10 days to either trade Batista or send him to the Minors.

Batista had been the starting third baseman all season for the Twins, but Gardenhire said that the team now plans to use a committee of players to fill the spot including Castro, Nick Punto, Luis Rodriguez and Terry Tiffee.

When the Twins signed Batista this past offseason, the hope was that he would add some power to a lineup that has often lacked it over the past few years. But with Batista hitting just .236 with five home runs and 21 RBIS, the decision was made to go back to a player who could provide a bit more speed to an offense that has long been based around it.

"We were hoping Tony would be able to hit a few more home runs," Gardenhire said. "He's been wonderful here, a quality person, just what we thought when we brought him over. It's just that we're just not getting the production we need."

Bartlett had been considered the favorite to win the starting shortstop job during Spring Training, but a lack of vocal leadership made Gardenhire choose to break camp with Castro as his starter.

The thought was that once Bartlett displayed an ability at Rochester to do that, he would likely get a chance to return to the club. With all the reports saying he's done just that, Bartlett received the news following Rochester's 2-0 loss on Tuesday that he would once again get his chance with the Twins.

"I knew something was going to happen sometime soon," Bartlett told the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat and Chronicle. "It's a little bit of a shock, but I've kind of been waiting for it."

Bartlett will join the Twins on Wednesday and be available for the team's game against the Red Sox at 7:10 p.m. CT.

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