Notebook: Willingham headed out on rehab stint, could return next week
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan provided a brief update on a few injuries throughout the organization prior to Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Kansas City Royals.
• Left fielder Josh Willingham (knee) will join Triple-A Rochester on a rehab stint over the weekend. The Red Wings host the Syracuse Chiefs before heading on the road to face the Durham Bulls. The hope is that Willingham will be able to join the Twins for the White Sox series, which begins with a doubleheader on Aug. 9 at U.S. Cellular Field.
• Outfielder Darin Mastroianni will move from the Gulf Coast League Twins to the High-A Fort Myers Miracle as he continues to progress from foot surgery in late May. He'll join the team in Tampa within the next day or two, according to Ryan.
• Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez will also move on from the GCL club, but will go to Double-A New Britain in his continued recovery from a concussion suffered in Detroit back in late May. Ryan noted that the three outfielders were all sent to different locations so they could play their different positions as they prepare for their returns.
• First-round pick Kohl Stewart hasn't pitched for the GCL Twins since July 22, which Ryan attributed to a beach mishap. Stewart was walking around on a Fort Myers beach Sunday, Ryan said, when he cut the bottom of his foot on a shell or some sharp object.
Club doctors didn't feel it was severe enough to warrant stitching -- due to worry about infection, as well -- but Ryan also said there was worry that if Stewart pitched in the interim, it might affect his motion, hence the shutdown.
• Catcher Josmil Pinto, who is on the 40-man roster, was promoted from Double-A New Britain to Rochester. He took the roster spot vacated by Drew Butera, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to Wednesday's deadline.
Pinto has had a phenomenal season at New Britain -- .308/.411/.482 batting line with nearly as many walks (64) as strikeouts (71) -- and Ryan said it was high time that the club moved him up, as he'd earned it. Interestingly, manager Ron Gardenhire mentioned him as the next catch-and-throw guy coming up in the farm system.
When asked if he felt Pinto could at least be a passable big league catcher, Gardenhire said he absolutely felt that way.
"I like Pinto," Gardenhire said. "He's still learning all the fine points of catching and framing, and he has a decent arm. He's working on his mechanics. I think he's one of those guys who has a chance."
Ryan hinted at a possible September call-up for Pinto, but also noted that three catchers presently on the active roster might make that move unlikely.
• With an open 40-man spot following the departure of Butera, it's worth wondering who will fill that spot. Left-handed starter Andrew Albers took a hard-luck loss on Wednesday, going the distance in a 2-1 loss to Lehigh Valley (Phillies system). Both runs allowed by Albers were earned, and he fanned four and walked just one. Albers is certainly a candidate to take that open 40-man spot, and possibly replace fellow countryman Scott Diamond in the Twins' rotation.