He hasn't played in any spring training games as of yet because of a sore throwing shoulder, but I'm still going to very interested in how Alejandro Machado does this spring.
The Twins acquired this guy via the Rule 5 draft. Therefore, he needs to make the Major League team (and stay with them) or he'll have to be sent back to the Nationals. There is another option: The Twins could trade for him and send him to the farm, but this seems far less likely.
Machado has sparked my interest because of his insane versatility. He can apparently play 6 or 7 defensive positions (some sources say he can't play CF), he's a switch hitter, and he has very good speed. If he is good enough to play in the big leagues this year, he could give the Twins the kind of "wild card" bench player that they haven't had since Denny Hocking.
There are some hurdles he has to overcome to convince the Twins to keep him, however. First, he's never played at the Major League level. He's only 24, but it's difficult to think that the Twins would be willing to keep him in the bigs all season without any Major League experience. I guess they could always change their mind later and send him back to Washington if he doesn't work out, but that is likely not the ideal scenario. Perhaps someone else here will research and analyze his minor league numbers so we can get a better idea of weather or not he is ready to make his MLB debut (hint, hint).
Aside from his current day-to-day injury status, the other problem he has to overcome to make the team is his apparent inability to bunt. I don't know why the Nationals' farm system has gone this long without teaching this perspective super utility man how to bunt (they are in the National League), but the Twins discovered he cannot. I read somewhere that the Twins have had Rod Carew working with him one-on-one to develop his bunting skills. -And you can't get a much better teacher if you want to learn how to drop one down.
Alejandro Machado does currently have a few advantages to making the club. First of all, he can back up at shortstop. The Twins have soured a bit on Luis Rodriguez. L-Rod is very slow for a middle infielder; he's got catcher/first baseman like speed. Plus, Rodriguez hasn't panned out for the Twins when he's been given the chance to play in the Majors. The Twins also want the other guy in competition for back up middle infielder (Alexi Castilla) to get another year of seasoning in the minors. So, Machado could make the Twins by default.
The other main advantage for Machado that I see is (again) his versatility. He would give the Twins the option of pinch-hitting with or for anyone in the lineup late in the game because he can plug pretty much any hole in the field. That combined with his good speed also makes him a great option as a pinch runner.
I will definitely be paying attention to how Machado plays this spring (once he does) and all reports on his progres. Especially whenever he is asked to bunt. No matter how much you disliked Denny Hocking, you have to admit that his presence on the roster allowed the Twins to out maneuver their opponents when he was on the team. For that reason, I'm hoping that Alejandro Machado makes the Twins 25 man roster.