The Twins are moving catcher Joe Mauer to first base, meaning Josmil Pinto could be the starting backstop in Minnesota to start the 2014 season.
GM Terry Ryan will have a conference call this afternoon to discuss the Mauer move, but in a news release, the Twins said they are moving Mauer because of the “inherent risks of future injury at the catcher position.”
Mauer sustained a concussion when he took a foul tip off the mask last Aug. 19 and did not return to action the remainder of the season.
As for Pinto, he had a terrific first taste of the majors, batting .342/.398/.566 in 21 games. The 24-year-old signed out of Venezuela in 2006 and has moved slowly in the system, despite hitting well in that time.
Another competitor for the Twins’ catching spot is Chris Herrmann, who at 25 made his major league debut in 2013 as well. He was set to play in the Dominican winter league.
Meanwhile, the Twins in June drafted Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner in the third round.
When the team drafted Turner, scouting director Deron Johnson told MLB.com that Turner “ He has advanced catch skills. He’s a really good receiver, he can throw, he’s got a big durable body. He swings the bat enough. We think he’s got the chance to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues.”