Wrist injuries have Twins shuffling outfield
Willingham, Arcia miss home opener; Colabello gets first start in right field
MINNEAPOLIS -- With Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia nursing minor injuries, Chris Colabello made his first start of the season in right field on Monday, with Jason Kubel getting the start in left.
Willingham was hit on his left wrist by a fastball from Indians right-hander Justin Masterson on Sunday, and he remains day to day with a bruised wrist. And Arcia was sidelined for a third straight game with a sore right wrist, which he injured while taking batting practice in Chicago early last week.
"We're hopeful both of them avoid the DL," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "We're going to try to get through today, and we have an off-day tomorrow, and then we'll have to figure it out Wednesday. They're going to have to be able to play or else we're going to have to do something."
Colabello's start in right field was just the sixth of his career at the position. But Colabello, who entered Monday's home opener with an American League-leading 11 RBIs and was named the AL co-Player of the Week with Josh Hamilton, said he's ready for the challenge.
"I haven't done it a lot, but I'll just try to go out there and not try to be Superman," Colabello said. "Luckily, I have [Aaron] Hicks to my right."
Colabello, a natural first baseman, didn't see any time in the outfield in Spring Training, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he believes he can handle right field after appearing in 10 games there last season.
"He's taken ground balls out there and he's taken fly balls," Gardenhire said. "He's done all the work out there too. He's played right field before. He's not a right fielder, but he's played it here before."
Twins acquire infielder Nunez from Yankees
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Yankees in exchange for left-hander Miguel Sulbaran on Monday, the club announced during its game against the A's.
Nunez, who was designated for assignment by the Yankees on Tuesday, was added to the 40-man roster, and he will report to Triple-A Rochester. The 26-year-old has played in 270 games with the Yankees, including 90 games last year, when he hit .260/.307/.372 with three homers, 17 doubles, four triples and 10 stolen bases.
Nunez has primarily played at shortstop throughout his Major League career, playing 152 games there while also seeing time in 78 games at third base, 20 games at second base and four games in both left and right field.
Nunez is a career .267/.313/.379 hitter with 10 homers, 40 doubles, seven triples and 48 stolen bases in parts of four seasons with the Yankees.
Sulbaran, 20, posted a 2.96 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 32 walks in 112 2/3 innings in 27 appearances at Class A last year, split between the Dodgers' and Twins' organizations. He was originally acquired by Minnesota from Los Angeles for catcher Drew Butera on July 31, 2013.
Sulbaran had a 2.70 ERA in four starts at Class A Cedar Rapids last year after the trade. But he showed up to Spring Training overweight this year, and he pitched just one scoreless inning in relief at Cedar Rapids so far this season.
Ankle sprain lands Bartlett on DL; Herrmann recalled
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins placed utility man Jason Bartlett on the 15-day disabled list with a left ankle sprain and recalled catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann from Triple-A Rochester before Monday's home opener against the A's.
Bartlett, 0-for-3 in three games so far this season, sustained the injury sliding into home plate in the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the Indians. Bartlett scored from first base on a three-run double from Chris Colabello and was removed from the game in favor of Eduardo Escobar.
"With Bart, we didn't think it was that big of a deal, but he had to come out of the game and it started to stiffen up on him on the plane last night," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He went on the field today with [head trainer Dave] Pruemer, and he ran around and could feel it. So we had to figure out what we were going to do, and because he wasn't ready for a few days, we decided to put Bartlett on the DL."
Herrmann, who played in two games for Rochester to start the year, went 7-for-17 (.412) in 14 Spring Training games with the Twins. He appeared in 57 games last season, batting .204 with four homers and 18 RBIs.
He'll bring versatility to the Twins, as he can catch and play both corner outfield spots. He also worked at first base in Spring Training and saw action there with Rochester already this season for his first appearance at the position as a Minor Leaguer.
"Being a versatile player, that's what helps me learn all these positions," Herrmann said. "I just feel like I get the hang of it a lot faster than most other people do. I'm not really afraid to try a new position either."
Herrmann nearly made the roster with his impressive Spring Training.
"I felt like I had a really good spring," Herrmann said. "I came out and I swung the bat really well. I started playing some first base. I think I opened up some eyes for our coaching staff. They saw what I could be -- even more versatile than I am already."
Ryan on hand as Twins stand up to cancer in opener
MINNEAPOLIS -- After taking part in home openers for the White Sox and Indians already this season during their first road trip, the Twins were finally able to host their own home opener on Monday against the A's.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was excited to be back at Target Field after starting the year on a six-game, seven-day road trip.
"It was nice to get here to the ballpark and walk into the clubhouse, the whole package," Gardenhire said. "We've been gone a long time, so it's nice."
During the game, the Twins and A's wore Stand Up To Cancer patches as a show of support for general manager Terry Ryan and all those impacted by cancer. In addition, both teams wore special SU2C caps during batting practice.
Ryan, 60, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in early February, and he had surgery to remove a cancerous mass from his neck on Feb. 11. He's currently undergoing radiation treatment until late April, but he was at the park on Monday and plans to attend home games this month at Target Field.
At the end of the second inning, the fans also joined players from both teams to "Stand Up To Cancer." Placards were distributed to fans as they entered Target Field, and fans were encouraged to personalize their placard with the name of someone they know who has been affected by cancer.
Before the game, Twins legends were also on hand at their respective gates, with Bert Blyleven representing fellow Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew at Gate 3, Tony Oliva at Gate 6, Kent Hrbek at Gate 15, Tom Kelly representing Rod Carew at Gate 29 and a Twins official representing Kirby Puckett at Gate 34.
There were also several on-field performances, as Home Free, a local a cappella group that won Season 5 of NBC's "The Sing-Off" performed, and the national anthem was performed by local singer Thomasina Petrus. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Minneapolis-based actor Barkhad Abdi, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the film "Captain Phillips."