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Gardenhire looking forward to callups

Gardenhire looking forward to callups

OAKLAND -- The Twins haven't been an organization that normally calls up more than a handful of players when September rolls around and rosters expand.

But considering the club's recent string of 17 straight games without an off-day and the toll it has taken on his ballclub, manager Ron Gardenhire said that the seven players who are set to join his roster on Tuesday will be welcome additions.

"We need some bodies," Gardenhire said. "This stretch of baseball that we've played, we've kind of had to force everybody out there every day. It will be good to have some bodies up here."

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"You normally don't like too much of an overflow because with the extra group, batting practice gets a little longer," the skipper added. "But we need some help right now. ... We need some more players to give us some more maneuverability for sure.

With the callups, Gardenhire will get four extra position players for the start of Minnesota's series in Toronto on Tuesday. Those include infielders Matt Tolbert and Matt Macri, outfielder Jason Pridie and catcher Ryan Jorgensen.

Tolbert, who is being activated from the disabled list, will likely see the most playing time of the four. Gardenhire said he's looking forward to having the switch-hitting Tolbert back to use as a fast runner off the bench, a pinch-hitter and another option in the infield. That includes third base, and with Brendan Harris and Tolbert as third base choices, Gardenhire said he might be able to put Brian Buscher at first for a day to give Justin Morneau a rest.

Pridie will also be another speed option on the basepaths. He can play all three outfield positions and Gardenhire said that depending on how Pridie plays, he could also be a late-inning defensive replacement if needed.

Gardenhire said that Macri, who can play all four infield positions, will give the Twins another option for pinch-hitting spots. And while he doesn't know much about Jorgensen, Gardenhire was just happy to have a third catcher so he might be able to use Joe Mauer and Mike Redmond in the lineup together -- like he did on Sunday -- without much of a concern.

As for the pitching side of things, the Twins will add three arms to their bullpen in right-handers Phil Humber and Bobby Korecky and left-hander Jose Mijares.

Gardenhire said that left-hander Brian Duensing, who just returned from pitching for Team USA in the Olympics, was an option as a reliever but he's considered more of a starter.

Mijares, who broke his left elbow in a car accident in Venezuela in January, has impressed a number of people this season with his 93-94-mph fastball and has shown no effects of the injury since he's returned.

"Paul Molitor told me midseason that he saw Mijares in A ball and said he'll be in the big leagues before the year was out," Gardenhire said. "That must have gone a long ways because he's coming to the big leagues. They've said he's just been throwing the living fire out of the ball."

Humber will give the Twins another long relief option with Boof Bonser starting to pitch in more late-inning spots, and Korecky can also stretch out if needed. Gardenhire said the team also wants to get a good look at Humber, who was acquired in the Johan Santana trade with the Mets, because he will be out of options next season.

One pitcher that was left out of the callups was right-hander Brian Bass, who spent most of the season with the Twins before accepting an assignment at Triple-A Rochester in mid-August. The Twins would have needed to add Bass back to the 40-man roster for a call up and Gardenhire said the team was unsure of what his role might be if he did return.

"We weren't using him at the end when he was here -- very seldom at best," Gardenhire said. "It just looked like he was struggling."

While Gardenhire was happy to get some additional bodies to use on the field, he seemed equally excited about adding Triple-A Rochester's hitting coach Riccardo Ingram to his staff. Ingram has been mentioned by many of the hitters called up this season as a big part of the reason for their success.

"It's good to see him coming up here," Gardenhire said. "He's worked very hard through this organization. He'll do a great job."

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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