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Updated: May 14th, 2014 9:20pm
Zulgad: Are Twins sending a message by leaving Arcia in Rochester?

Zulgad: Are Twins sending a message by leaving Arcia in Rochester?

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by Judd Zulgad

MINNEAPOLIS -- Oswaldo Arcia remains a big part of the Twins' future plans. The strained right wrist he suffered in early April that landed him on the disabled list is healed and his rehab stint at Triple-A Rochester is complete.

That means Arcia should be headed back to the Twin Cities. Only that isn't the case. On Wednesday, the Twins returned Arcia from his rehab assignment, reinstated him from the 15-day DL and then optioned him to Rochester.

So what gives?

The decision to keep Arcia in the minors makes it appear as if someone is trying to send a message to the 23-year-old. It's difficult to believe a team that is in desperate need of outfielders and big bats wouldn't get him up here as soon as possible.

Not surprisingly, Rob Antony, the Twins' acting general manager, downplayed any such talk. "It's no penance or anything," he said. "It's just a matter of he needs more at-bats to get going. He's healthy, so he doesn't need to stay on the disabled list. We had to do something."

The Twins lineup Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox at Target Field featured the recently recalled Chris Parmelee in right field and Kurt Suzuki at designated hitter. They were hitting fourth and fifth, respectively.

Suzuki was batting .314 with 25 runs batted in entering the game, but starting him at DH likely wasn't Ron Gardenhire's first choice.

Parmelee hit a walk-off home run to end Tuesday's game, but he did so little in spring training that he was exposed to waivers and then sent to Rochester when no team claimed him. That means he can't be included in the group of players who are seen as this team's future.

During his rehab assignment, Arcia played in 12 games for the Red Wings and hit .308 (12-for-39) with four doubles, one home run (hit Tuesday) and six RBIs.

Antony said Arcia is "not on top of his game offensively," but quickly added, "the good news is he's playing hard." He also pointed to the fact the Twins have plenty of lefthanded bats on the big-league roster among their outfielders. This includes Parmelee, Jason Kubel, Sam Fuld and the switch-hitting Aaron Hicks. Fuld, though, is currently out with a concussion and Parmelee, Kubel and Hicks are nothing more than three guys.

Two words never used when discussing Arcia were reliability or consistency. Arcia's failure to display these attributes might be at the heart of the matter.

Arcia did not go on the disabled list last season but he missed 15 days in spring training and then 17 games during the regular season because of hand, wrist and knee injuries. Arcia picked up where he left off this spring sitting out seven days because of illness and then landing on the DL after hurting his wrist.

This is not to say that he could have played through every injury, but there does come a point where a team wants to see a developing player make it clear that he can push through the inevitable aches and pains that come during a 162-game season.

Arcia hasn't done that.

The Twins will take heat for this move because keeping Arcia in the minors, while fielding their current lineup, fails to make sense.

But if that's your contention, then you can't say that the Twins encourage a country-club atmosphere when keeping Arcia in the minors could be an attempt to send a wake-up call to alert him to the fact he is not entitled to be in the Major Leagues.

Arcia now must spend at least 10 days at Triple-A, although the Twins could bring him back sooner if they place someone on the DL.

"We didn't put any timetable on," how long he'll remain in the minors, Antony said. "We told him to get going, keep swinging. (Tuesday) night was encouraging with the home run. He also had a couple punch outs. Take more consistent at-bats.

"He knows what he needs to do. He'll work his way back up here. ... When he's swinging right there's definitely room for Oswaldo Arcia. So we just want to get him swinging the way he can consistently because he can help this club."

Of course, the only way Arcia can really help the big-league team is to be in the lineup every day. Perhaps some extra time in Rochester will help him realize this.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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