Twins play first game with callups
Six of seven newcomers in uniform on Tuesday
TORONTO -- The Twins' clubhouse was a little more crowded than usual on Tuesday, as the team welcomed the arrival of its September callups.
With Minnesota playing its first game since the Major League rosters expanded, the Twins had six of their seven callups in uniform for the club's series opener against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
"It's like Spring Training, we've got all kinds of people," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's nice to have more bodies on the field."
The only missing player was left-hander Jose Mijares, who could not enter Canada because of visa problems. The pitcher was not able to file his documents in time for the Twins' trip to Toronto, and is now set to join the team when it returns home on Friday.
However, while Mijares is not yet with the team, newcomers Phil Humber and Bobby Korecky are both right-handed options in the bullpen. In addition, the Twins added a crop of new position players, including infielders Matt Tolbert and Matt Macri, outfielder Jason Pridie and catcher Ryan Jorgensen.
When asked about how he planned to use his callups, Gardenhire said that he will not be hesitant.
"We'll have to see how the game goes," he said. "If it's needed and we need to pinch-run, we'll use them. I'm not afraid to. That's why I called them up. I'm not afraid to use any of these guys."
The addition of the Minor Leaguers also contributes to what is already a young Minnesota team.
"Half of our team is [Triple-A] Rochester, might as well bring the rest of them up," Gardenhire said. "We brought them up for a reason and we chose these guys because of what they can do to help us off the bench."
One such player who is expected to provide help off the bench is Tolbert. The infielder spent the first month and a half of the season with the Twins, before heading to the disabled list with a torn ligament in his right hand.
"We know what he brings to the table," said Gardenhire of Tolbert. "He's one of those gamers that we really like around here. Unfortunately, he got hurt. He was playing good baseball and now he's come back from a serious injury. We're excited to have him."
While recovering from his surgery in mid-May, Tolbert said that he had been closely monitoring the Twins, who have since managed to play their way into the thick of a playoff race in the American League Central division.
"It was exciting, watching and pulling for guys you know," Tolbert said. "It's been fun to watch how great they've been playing. And I've never been in a pennant race before."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.