MINNEAPOLIS -- When Josmil Pinto was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on June 11, the Twins wanted him to work on his defense behind the plate.
Pinto's bat has never been the issue, but the Twins believed he still needed work defensively to be a capable big league catcher. The Twins felt it was better for Pinto to get regular time at Triple-A instead of sitting on the bench behind regular catcher Kurt Suzuki. The Twins believe Pinto has gotten better in all aspects defensively, and they plan to see how he fares this month as a September callup.
Pinto was given his first start behind the plate since June 8 on Wednesday, as Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he received good reports on Pinto's defense.
"It's better," Gardenhire said. "Throwing, game-calling, the whole package. He's been working on his mechanics. But it's still a work in progress. He works very hard at it."
Gardenhire said the coaching staff at Triple-A Rochester specifically worked with Pinto on his footwork behind the plate, which was an issue for him early in the season.
"Mechanically, he was getting really violent and his head was jerking," Gardenhire said. "So we had to clean that up. It was basically footwork and getting his arm in the right spot."