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Herrmann's versatility allowing Pinto to DH more

Herrmann's versatility allowing Pinto to DH more

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he likes having Chris Herrmann on the roster, as it gives him the flexibility to use Josmil Pinto as a designated hitter on days he's not serving as catcher.

Herrmann, who can catch, play first and both corner outfield spots, was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on April 7 after Jason Bartlett was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle.

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Having Herrmann on the bench as an extra backup catcher to Kurt Suzuki, has allowed Pinto to get extra at-bats as a designated hitter. Pinto started there on Tuesday against the Blue Jays to mark his fifth start at DH this season. Pinto is hitting .231/.333/.577 this year with three homers and five RBIs in eight games.

Gardenhire said he fought to have Herrmann on the roster so he could use Pinto more at DH this season, but Herrmann ultimately started the year at Triple-A before the injury to Bartlett.

"We were hoping to get that figured out in Spring Training so we could use [Pinto] as a DH and get him more at-bats but it didn't work out," Gardenhire said. "We went a lot of different ways with a lot of different arguments. But with the injuries we've had, this is kind of the way we like it. We want to see him swinging. We don't want him sitting here. He can get plenty of at-bats and catch, too."

Gardenhire said the Twins will have to decide whether to keep Herrmann on the roster once players on the DL such as Josh Willingham (left wrist contusion), Oswaldo Arcia (sprained right wrist) and Bartlett return.

"Once everybody gets back, we'll have to try to figure out how to keep getting [Pinto] at-bats," Gardenhire said. "We like running him up there so it's working out pretty good."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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