FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hasn't hid his desire to have Wilson Ramos begin the year as the club's backup catcher, but ultimately that decision will come down to what the organization feels is best for Ramos. A decision on whether Ramos or Drew Butera will be the club's backup catcher to Joe Mauer was expected to be made when Gardenhire and his coaching staff met with general manager Bill Smith following Tuesday's contest against the Pirates. The meeting came just shortly after Ramos, who is considered one of Minnesota's top prospects, hit a home run that cleared the tall batter's eye in center field. It was one of two impressive home runs that the catcher has hit this spring -- the other coming off former Twins starter and fellow Venezuelan Johan Santana -- as he's batted .400 (12-for-30) with a .733 slugging percentage in 13 games.
Both Ramos, 22, and Butera, 26, are considered to be good catch-and-throw guys behind the plate, but Ramos, who has not played a game about Double-A, clearly has more offensive upside. And Gardenhire acknowledged that he could find a lot of ways to use Ramos in that backup role. "He would give me more of an ability to play him than most other backup catchers," Gardenhire said. "I wouldn't be afraid to give Joe more days off, let's put it that way, because of this kid. He's pretty good. It would help me with Joe, protect him a little more." But Gardenhire said that the decision ultimately won't come down to just his thoughts. There are questions as to whether it would be better for Ramos' development to play every day at Triple-A Rochester rather than to be backup at the Major League level. So Gardenhire said all those things would be weighed when the two sides met on Tuesday. "We're trying to do the right thing for him, our club and for our organization," Gardenhire said. "That's all we're doing."