Morales not a lock to return when healthy

Morales not a lock to return when healthy

MINNEAPOLIS -- Catcher Jose Morales has been in Fort Myers, Fla., as he continues to rehab from right wrist surgery that he had in January, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Morales won't automatically return as the club's backup catcher once he's healthy.

For Morales to replace Drew Butera in the backup role, Gardenhire said that Morales will have to show that he can make strong throws from behind the plate on his Minor League rehab stint.

"Morales, if he can't throw, he is not going to be able to be our backup catcher," Gardenhire said. "You have to be able to come up and throw somebody out. That's the bottom line. He had a bad wrist. His arm was hurting in Spring Training and we can't go through that."

Gardenhire has been pleased with what he's seen from Butera early on in terms of calling a game and handling the running game from behind the plate. While Gardenhire knows that Morales can call a game and is more of a hitter than Butera, he wants to make sure that there aren't any concerns about the running game with Morales.

"The day Joe doesn't play, they can't run all over us. We won't have that," Gardenhire said. "We're looking for a catch-and-throw guy for our backup catcher. He can hit. We know that. But he's still got to be able to do the other part -- catch and throw. He calls a good game. But he's got to be able to throw somebody out."

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