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Lamb's short tenure with Twins ends

Lamb's short tenure with Twins ends

SEATTLE -- Mike Lamb desperately wanted to prove with the Twins that he was an everyday player.

But after losing his starting job at third base and seeing his role relegated to a scarcely used bench player, Lamb's tenure with the club came to an end on Monday. To make room for left-hander Eddie Guardado on the roster, the Twins designated Lamb for assignment.

The timing of the move caught Lamb off guard, although he said he saw the writing on the wall about his role with the team in Sunday's 5-3 loss at Anaheim.

"I didn't see it coming, but I can't say I'm too surprised," said Lamb, who batted .233 with one home run and 32 RBIs for the Twins this season. "[Sunday] having Nick [Punto] play third and Adam [Everett] play short with a right-handed pitcher, it kind of sent me a message that it just wasn't going to happen for me anymore."

The Twins signed Lamb to a two-year, $6.6 million deal last December to be their everyday third baseman. But a slow start offensively -- he batted just .205 in April -- and troubles defensively with his throws in the field led to Lamb losing playing time to Brian Buscher.

"I'm disappointed that things didn't work out," Twins general manager Bill Smith said. "Mike Lamb struggled early and when Brian Buscher got the opportunity, he took full advantage of it. ... Unfortunately for Mike, Brian took a lot of the at-bats. So it just didn't work. We reached the point where we thought this was the best option for us right now."

Since being recalled on June 13, Buscher has seen the majority of time at third base. A left-handed hitter like Lamb, Buscher is hitting .309 with four home runs and 38 RBIs in 50 games for the Twins.

A career .277 hitter, Lamb said that he hasn't been this frustrated or this unsuccessful since "I was probably 9."

Although he now will have a chance to perhaps catch on with another club, possibly in the National League, Lamb said it didn't make the news on Monday any easier.

"I'm embarrassed for having been fired," Lamb said. "I wish it would have turned out better. Bill and Rob [Antony, Twins assistant GM] stuck their necks out for me, and I let them down. I hope going forward it won't be held against them. I wish I had performed better for the team. I felt like as of late, I had been. It's just my doing well lately felt like it wasn't buying me anymore time on the field. So in that regard, it was time to move on."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that in the end, the two sides just weren't quite the match that he had hoped.

"The energy level wasn't what we expected," Gardenhire said of Lamb. "He's a veteran, a laid-back guy and we play at a different level. We like to run and do all those kinds of things. ... We were just looking for a little different thing. That's probably why it didn't work out here."

As for the notion that it was his laid-back attitude that prevented him from sticking with the Twins, Lamb said he was never aware it was an issue.

"I mean, if it was a problem, I wish someone would have told me," Lamb said. "I would have thrown stuff if I needed to."

The Twins have 10 days to trade or release Lamb. They likely will be on the hook for the remaining $3.8 million that is owed to Lamb.

Knowing that Lamb was signed through 2009 made cutting him a bit more difficult, Smith said. But in the end, that was something the team couldn't let factor into its decision.

"First and foremost, we had to look at what is best for the team and what is going to help us win games right now," Smith said. "Unfortunately, Mike Lamb, he hasn't been getting many at-bats and getting the opportunity. I know he's a better player than he showed earlier this year. I know he's a better hitter and better player. His career numbers tell us that. We certainly wish him well."

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

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