Twins send Ortiz to Colorado

Twins send Ortiz to Colorado

SEATTLE -- Ramon Ortiz admitted that he had started to see the writing on the wall.

With his time on the mound dwindling, Ortiz felt that he might be one of the pitchers the Twins had on the trading block.

So it came as no surprise to Ortiz when he learned the news on Wednesday that he had been traded to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Minor League infielder Matt Macri.

"I don't know when, but I know something [would] happen," Ortiz said. "Minnesota has a lot of pitchers; a lot of very good young pitchers."

After beginning the year in the rotation for the Twins, Ortiz was moved to the bullpen in late May. Since then, Ortiz's time on the mound has been limited. With Ortiz mainly being used in long relief, the Twins struggled at times to find him opportunities to pitch.

So when the Rockies called and expressed interest in Ortiz, Twins general manager Terry Ryan thought that it might be a good fit for the pitcher.

"They had a couple of injuries over there and they needed some pitching," Ryan said. "He might get an opportunity to start, which I'm sure is his preference. We weren't using him much and he's going over there in a pennant race. So it just made sense."

Ortiz was 4-4 with a 5.14 ERA for the Twins this season in 28 appearances (10 starts).

The timing of the trade seems to indicate that Ortiz will likely fill a starting role. Colorado learned earlier on Wednesday that right-handed starter Aaron Cook has a strained muscle in his side and he is expected to head to the disabled list.

"The thing is, I don't pitch much here now and this will give me opportunity to pitch more in the game," Ortiz said. "I think that's a good idea. I'm very happy."

The Twins have had their own injury troubles of late, including one suffered on Wednesday when shortstop Jason Bartlett strained his left hamstring in a 6-1 victory at Seattle. The extent of Bartlett's injury is not yet known, but the feeling is that it likely will require a stint on the 15-day disabled list. And with that injury, Macri could get the call to help out almost immediately.

"With Bartlett down, this will give us a little bit more insurance," Ryan said.

Ryan said that Macri, 25, can play second base, shortstop and third base, with most of his time recently spent playing third.

Macri began the year playing for the Rockies' Double-A Tulsa club. He batted .298 with 23 doubles, 11 home runs and 33 RBIs in 79 games. He was recently promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he played in three games, going 6-for-9 with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs.

The Twins will also evaluate outfielder Jason Kubel on Thursday to determine if his strained right oblique will require a stint on the disabled list. Ryan said it will be after the team evaluates Bartlett and Kubel that the club will decide just how many roster moves will have to be made. But Ryan made it clear that the team will not necessarily call up a pitcher to replace Ortiz.

"It's not a lock that we will," Ryan said. "We could go with 11 pitchers now. Our starters have been getting deeper into games, so we're not sure which route we will take yet."

Despite gaining depth in the infield, the Twins were sad to lose the presence of Ortiz in the clubhouse. Always known to have a smile on his face and to put forth an optimistic attitude even after being demoted to the bullpen, Ortiz was a favorite of his teammates.

"He's very special," manager Ron Gardenhire said of Ortiz. "Even when we put him in the bullpen, he never lost his enthusiasm or his belief in this team. It's always sad to lose a player to another team. But I think it gives him an opportunity to go to a team that's in contention and maybe get a chance to start again."

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