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Updated: December 15th, 2011 10:59pm
Twins sign Steve Pearce, J.R. Towles to minor league deals

Twins sign Steve Pearce, J.R. Towles to minor league deals

by Phil Mackey
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The Minnesota Twins already agreed to terms with former top prospect Sean Burroughs on a minor league deal, and now they are taking flyers on a couple more underachievers.

The team agreed to minor league deals on Thursday with first baseman and outfielder Steve Pearce and catcher J.R. Towles -- both of whom were once projected as quality major league bats.

Pearce, 28, owns a dismal .232/.302/.366 major league batting line with nine home runs in 521 plate appearances for the Pirates, but he once rated as one of Baseball America's top-100 prospects in 2008, coming off a season in which he hit .333/.394/.622 with 31 home runs in 551 plate appearances between three levels. Pearce never has been able to carry that power over to the big leagues.

Towles, a former Astro who turns 28 in February, has fared even worse in the big leagues -- .187/.267/.315 with 11 home runs in 484 trips, but like Pearce he also cracked Baseball America's top-100 list in 2008. Towles owns a career Triple-A batting line of .286/.389/.443 with 14 home runs in 556 plate appearances.

The Twins also brought back catcher Rene Rivera on a minor league deal, as well as right-hander P.J. Walters. The Star Tribune reported left-hander Aaron Thompson also signed a minor league deal.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Rene Rivera