FORT MYERS, FLA. – At least Bailey Ober doesn't have to wonder if he would still be on the Twins roster if he hadn't given up his first runs of the spring Saturday. Danny Coulombe didn't give up a run all spring, and he didn't make the team, either.
Ober, Coulombe and Aaron Sanchez were all reassigned to minor league camp Sunday, leaving 13 healthy pitchers on the roster — essentially, the team's Opening Day pitching staff. Cole Sands, a starter throughout his minor league career, is one of them, taking on a bullpen assignment that will give Baldelli a multi-inning option in relief of the five-man starting staff.
"We knew we were going to need a guy that can do more than [one-inning appearances], and he's going to be one of those guys for us," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He went out there and won the spot."
The Twins also reassigned outfielder Kyle Garlick to their minor league camp. Garlick, who has hit 14 home runs in 102 games for Minnesota over the past two seasons, has batted only .207 with no walks and 12 strikeouts this spring.
It's a huge disappointment for Ober, who hadn't given up a hit this spring until Saturday's 9-4 loss to Atlanta, but it's one he said he was prepared for. The 27-year-old righthander lost his rotation spot when the Twins traded for Opening Day starter Pablo Lopez, giving Baldelli five established, veteran starters for the rotation.
Coulombe, too, was a revelation this spring, returning from a labrum tear in his hip to pitch nine scoreless innings in relief. But the lefthander was also a victim of numbers; the bullpen already includes a pair of lefthanders, Caleb Thielbar and Jovani Moran.
Sanchez, an eight-year veteran and former All-Star while with Toronto in 2016, was much less effective this spring, allowing 15 runs in 8⅔ innings. The righthander made three starts for the Twins last season, and likely will pitch at Class AAA St. Paul until he's needed again.
The reassignments leave the Twins with this pitching staff: Lopez, Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan and Tyler Mahle in the rotation, all righthanders, and Sands, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, Emilio Pagan, Jorge Alcala and Jorge Lopez joining lefthanders Thielbar and Moran.
Pitchers Chris Paddack (elbow surgery), Josh Winder (shoulder) and Ronny Henriquez (elbow) will open the season on the injured list.