Who will return to Triple-A Rochester when Mauer returns from his rehab from off-season kidney surgery and suffering from an Inflammed Sacroiliac Joint in spring training? I can think of only two: Carlos Gomez or Jose Morales. I will examine the pros and cons of sending either one of these players east to Rochester.
If Gomez gets sent down to AAA, it will allow Gomez to improve his plate discipline, which he has shown a little bit of already in spring training. Also, Gomez will get the chance to start every game, very important for a player. Gomez may get his swing in order and be able to capitalize at the Major League Level. Gomez will also be able to work on his stealing tendency. Gomez seems to have a problem with the jumps he gets, probably because he is a little overeager, and appears to have both feet off the ground at once. Gomez WILL learn very much and get consistent playing time down in AAA.
The Twins lose their best defensive outfielder and also one of the top defensive center fielders in the American League. Gomez holds very much respect among teams for his athletic presence in center field and speed. There are not too many teams that do not respect Gomez and his strong (though sometimes a little erratic) arm. Thus, the Twins pitchers will give up an average of two extra hits a game with Span in CF rather than Gomez.
Morales will get the opportunity to improve upon his defensive skills. Although his defense isn't too shabby, he could always use work. Maybe we could get one of the coaches to develop a knuckleball? Well, maybe not....Morales will also get the opportunity to play everyday (although he is right now); however, once Mauer returns the Twins would have three catchers and it would be hard to slot Morales/Redmond in the lineup on a consistent basis. Morales would benefit from a trip down to AAA, but not as much as Gomez, as he doesn't have as much to work on.
Morales' bat is amazing. Twins lose that and they lose a very important bench/backup bat. Morales has been hitting up a storm, making it a very difficult decision for Gardy on who to send down. Removing Morales from the lineup at this point, would be a rather stupid decision. Thus, Morales adds an all important bat to the Twins lineup.
Another option is sending down one of the 12 pitchers on the roster. Names that spring to mind as possibilities are Ayala or Morillo.
Who gets sent down? We will find out sometime this week when Mauer returns from his DL stint.