When Jose Morales made the club out of spring training as Joe Mauer's replacement, the assumption was that Morales would fill in until Mauer was ready to return. It was a fair assumption because, after all, with a tight bench to begin with, making room for three catchers would be a difficult task.
Much in the same manner as the Twins did with their 11-man pitching staff idea, the team has rethought the plan to ship Morales to triple-A when their All-Star catcher returns to the lineup Friday, in the Metrodome against the Kansas City Royals.
Playing in 14 games entering the final week of April, Morales is hitting .375 with 12 hits in a total of 32 at-bats. In addition to those numbers, Morales has an on-base percentage of .412 and has gotten better behind the plate with each trip to the field.
The impact that Morales has made on the coaching staff has likely earned him a chance to remain with the club. But to allow the youngster to remain will require some difficult decisions.
The Twins could place reliever Juan Morillo on waivers and attempt to send him to the minors. Morillo hasn't pitched in many games since his arrival, and early on, it doesn't appear as if his arm will provide much of an impact. However, Jesse Crain could be activated on Sunday, and that would be the likely move to reinstate him from the disabled list.
The bench includes Brian Buscher, but sending him down would take away a good left-handed hitting option and a solid third-base backup off the bench. Brendan Harris has hit well and provided stability at second.
There are two options, but both would be tough decisions to make, and both seem unlikely with four days remaining to make the difficult choices.
Carlos Gomez has struggled, and his confidence doesn't seem to be improving. A trip to triple-A is probably not going to happen, but it would allow Morales to remain for a period of time. And it would let Gomez have time to clear his head and get back on track.
Another move might be to place Mike Redmond on the disabled list. Redmond's playing time has been limited. While it has been due in large part to the success of Morales, his poor performance early on presumably has something to do with his sore groin.
Whatever the team might do, they have a hard choice to make if they truly plan on keeping Morales with the major league club upon Mauer's return.
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