Gordon among eight Twins sent to Minors

Gordon among eight Twins sent to Minors

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins made eight roster moves on Saturday -- including reassigning top prospect Nick Gordon to Minor League camp -- leaving 48 players in big league camp, including 16 non-roster players.

Gordon, ranked as Minnesota's No. 1 prospect and No. 50 overall by MLBPipeline.com, went 2-for-11 this spring, and he is expected to start the year with Double-A Chattanooga. Additionally, catcher Mitch Garver, shortstop Engelb Vielma and outfielders Daniel Palka and Zack Granite were optioned to Triple-A Rochester, while catcher Dan Rohfling and infielders Niko Goodrum and Leonardo Reginatto were reassigned to Minor League camp.

"Nick Gordon is one of our best hitting prospects, if you ask me," manager Paul Molitor said. "It was good to see him play. He didn't get a lot of chances, but I think he absorbed a lot. I think he'll play some second in addition to shortstop."

Garver, who is ranked as the club's No. 15 prospect, was competing for the job as backup catcher, but Chris Gimenez and John Ryan Murphy are now the two candidates left for that role. Garver went 3-for-13 with two doubles, and he is considered close to being Major League ready.

"Mitch didn't get a great opportunity, but what I saw, I continued to like," Molitor said.

Vielma (No. 29 prospect) is known for his defense and needs to continue to get stronger offensively. He went 2-for-12 with a double this spring, but he's considered the club's best defensive shortstop in the Minors.

"Vielma just needs to get stronger," Molitor said. "He does things you can't teach with the glove."

Palka (No. 14 prospect) is considered the club's best power prospect, and he showed patience at the plate this spring, going 3-for-15 with a homer and drawing a team-high eight walks. He could see action with the Twins this year.

"I thought Palka handled himself great," Molitor said. "He had a little bit of a label of practicing-his-swing-in-the-outfield kind of guy. But I didn't see it. I saw a guy who tracked balls and had good first steps."

Granite, who was the club's Minor League Player of the Year last year and is the No. 22 prospect, is a speedster with impressive stolen-base ability and strong defense in center. He went 6-for-28 with a double and didn't steal any bases, but he swiped 56 at Double-A Chattanooga in 2016.

"I liked the way Zack prepared and competes," Molitor said. "It was good to watch him play. He made an impression almost in every game he played."

Rohlfing, who returned to the organization on a Minor League deal this offseason, gives the Twins organizational catching depth and went 2-for-11 this spring.

"He's been challenged to come into a role like Gimenez by being a leader, a good teammate and developing pitchers," Molitor said. "He hasn't given up the dream of being in the big leagues."

Goodrum and Reginatto, who were non-roster invitees, had strong springs offensively. Goodrum hit .375 (6-for-16) with a homer and three RBIs, while Reginatto batted .529 (9-for-17) with two doubles.

"Goodrum showed some versatility, and I told him to embrace that rather than wonder why he can't find a position," Molitor said. "Reginatto is a little dissimilar, because he doesn't play as many positions, but he still needs to move around to contribute."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.