Dealing Boof Bonser Yields Rare Province For Twins





MINNEAPOLIS—Technically, when a player is designated for assignment, his team has 10 days to trade him before he can opt for free agency.

In reality, "it's pretty hard to get much more than a warm body," said Mike Radcliff, vice president for player personnel. "You don't have a lot of leverage."

That's why the Twins were pleasantly surprised when they were able to pry righthander Chris Province away from the Red Sox in the early December exchange for righthander Boof Bonser, a DFA casualty after he had extensive shoulder surgery and missed all of 2009.

"Our scouts who saw him are happy we got him," Radcliff said.

Province's role—starter or reliever?—remains a riddle. He started for Southeastern Louisiana, but the Red Sox made him a closer after drafting him in the fourth round in 2007. A rotation regular again in 2008, Province posted a 4.82 ERA in A-ball, convincing Boston to put him back in the bullpen at Double-A Portland in 2009.

"He kind of took to it," Radcliff said. "He told us he really enjoyed getting into more than one game a week."

But Triple-A Rochester's bullpen is already crowded, "and it's going to be a lot harder for us to fill those 10 starting spots at Double-A and Triple-A," Radcliff said. "He said he's open to anything, so we'll try some things with him this spring."

Though Province, 24, has a large 6-foot-4 frame, he has just an average fastball, topping out around 91 mph, according to Twins scouts. But he has three reasonably effective pitches, Radcliff said, and the sink on his fastball is particularly good. He recorded a strong 3.29 groundout-airout ratio with the Sea Dogs.

"I'm not saying he's going to be a No. 1," Radcliff said. "But we did better than I expected."

TWIN KILLINGS

• Triple-A outfielder Dustin Martin experienced soreness in his throwing arm and was shut down two weeks before the end of the Venezuelan League season. The strain in his left elbow should clear up without surgery, but the Twins wanted him to rest his arm for spring training. He batted .298/.395/.477 in 44 games for Aragua.

• Double-A catcher Wilson Ramos bounced back from a minor knee sprain in November to lead the Venezuelan League in RBIs with 49 during the regular season. Ramos finished in the top 10 in all three triple-crown categories—10th in average at .332 and third in home runs with 12.