MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins sent first baseman-outfielder Chris Colabello back to Triple-A Rochester Friday as the corresponding move to activating catcher-outfielder Ryan Doumit from the seven-day concussion disabled list.
And if reactions from Twins higher-ups are any indication, it truly wasn't an easy decision. Nor should it have been, as the former Independent ball legend had a much better showing at the plate in this go-round in the big leagues.
Colabello went just 2-for-16 with the Twins in late-May and early-June but followed that up in his second tour of duty with a .243/.338/.429 slash line and four home runs. By comparison, first base counterpart Justin Morneau has hit .263/.318/.422 this season.
But it felt like Colabello's hot play in August -- .273/.415/.485 -- was going to buy him some time, especially since Doumit's return could have spelled the end for Chris Herrmann -- who plays the same positions as Doumit -- on the Twins bench.
"That weighed on my mind more than anything," manager Ron Gardenhire said of having to send Colabello down. "I like having him here. It was a tough decision. It came down to basically what we needed off our bench. With Doumit coming back off this, I thought it was very important to have a third catcher to make sure he gets through his days."
General manager Terry Ryan said it was certainly a tough decision to decide who to send back to Rochester.
"That's safe to say," Ryan said of the difficulty in having to make that call. "It was tough. I don't even want to say who it was between, but Colabello is a nice piece to have. I was a little flippant about his ability to play in right, but he's been better out there than just a guy who has never been out there. Unfortunately, someone had to go. You don't want to take many chances with Doumit, so we ended up keeping the extra catcher."
Both Ryan and Gardenhire admitted that Colabello would quite likely be back in September when rosters expand.
• Team physician John Steubs confirmed Friday that Nick Blackburn's surgery repaired a complete meniscus tear. That more or less ends Blackburn's season, and more than likely his tenure with the club. The Twins hold an $8 million option for 2014 that will be declined this winter.
• Oswaldo Arcia didn't start Friday's game after he mentioned to Tony Oliva and the trainers that he had a sore wrist. That, coupled with a left-hander on the mound made it a natural spot for a break for the 22-year-old Venezuelan outfielder. Arcia was dispatched off the bench in the eighth in place of Wilkin Ramirez, and worked a full count off reliever Nate Jones before popping out to third baseman Jeff Keppinger. Arcia remained in the game and played right field.
• Ryan splashed a bit more cold water on the idea that Miguel Sano could be a September call-up, stating that it still could happen, but that the percentage chance "isn't very high."
Sano has played phenomenally (.258/.352/.616) since a slow start at Double-A New Britain, but Ryan said he has to be careful with a player who doesn't necessarily need to be added to the 40-man roster until after the 2014 season. That's not to say that Sano can't force Ryan's hand in the meantime, but putting the slugger on the 40-man prematurely can affect option years and the handling of other players. In other words, it's not something Ryan takes lightly.
* The subject of Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel being fired came up during Gardenhire's media availability. Of course, Manuel was Gardenhire's last manager when he was a player, with the Portland Beavers back in 1987.
Gardenhire said he figured Manuel was likely swamped at the present time, but that he'd reach out to the deposed manager in the next day or two when he expected Charlie would have more time to chat. "I have a lot of respect for him," Gardenhire said, while noting that he was a little surprised that Manuel was fired at this point in the season.
"I'm surprised because of how little time is left in the season, but not surprised just from listening to Charlie during spring training. He said he didn't have a contract past this year, and he didn't know what was going to happen. Charlie's not one to back away from his stance on anything. I know they were trying to get some young kids in the lineup there, and Charlie's going to do it his way."
Gardenhire, like Manuel, entered this season without a contract. And when a media member suggested that Gardenhire seemed more at ease this year, he responded: "It is what it is. This is my twelfth year. It doesn't get much better than that. Managers just don't stay stay in places like that. I feel like I've been blessed. I'm lucky. I'm not going to sit here and mope, believe me. If it is my last year in Minnesota, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of it. I like these guys, and we're having some fun."
• Former Twin Scott Baker threw a bullpen session on Monday, and appears to still be on track to join the Cubs' pitching staff in September despite not having thrown in a game since July 29. Baker's rehab has been rocky to say the least, as he's allowed 14 earned runs in 12 innings (10.50 ERA) with 28 of the 62 batters he has faced reaching base (2.33 WHIP).
Baker last pitched in the major leagues with the Twins on Sept. 24, 2011, tossing two innings of shutout relief versus the Cleveland Indians.
• Byron Buxton continues to be on a scorching pace at High-A Fort Myers since returning from his toenail issue. Buxton went hitless in his first game back, but has hits in the 10 games since, as he's compiled a slash line of .415/.467/.437 in that time frame, with nine stolen bases and just one caught stealing.
• Don't be surprised if Eduardo Escobar makes his return sooner than later -- perhaps when the Twins are fully convinced a Joe Mauer/Doumit tandem can fully handle the catching workload.
Pedro Florimon is in the funk of all funks (2 for August), and Trevor Plouffe is hitting .150/.227/.238 since the All Star break with just three extra-base hits. Meanwhile, Escobar is hitting .317/.379/.490 while batting primarily leadoff.
Since the Jamey Carroll trade, the Twins have played shorthanded with just Doug Bernier to back up in the middle infield. Bringing up Escobar could help remedy that issue.
• Via Twins public relations guy Mike Kennedy, Brian Dozier has been part of 87 double plays this year, second-most in team history. The team record is 102, set in 1997 by Chuck Knoblauch.