Minor League Report...December 4, 2010

With Christmas rapidly approaching, will Bill Smith deliver a christmas gift to Twins fans with a big trade at the Winter Meetings next week?

It was widely reported that the Twins signed Javier Pimentel. He is a seventeen year old shortstop who was this year's tenth ranked prospect in the Dominican Republic. He has a big frame which means he could become a corner infielder in the future.

The Twins offerred contracts to all their non-tenders candidates. They also received notice that none of the three free agents offerred arbitration accepted. The Twins website caught up with recent signings, adding Eric Hacker to their 40-man roster which now stands at 37.

We will begin selecting the 2011 Twinkie Town Top 50 on Thursday. Highlights of this week's winter ball follows the jump.

After not allowing a run in his first three appearances for his hometown Perth Heat, Liam Hendriks had his second straight rough start on Thursday. He allowed seven hits and seven runs (six earned) in 2.1 innings. These past two outings raised his ERA to 9.26 in 11.2 innings. Catcher Alan de San Miguel continues as one of the Heat's best hitters at .304/.458/.543 with three home runs in 46 at bats. Rory Rhodes is with the Brisbane Bandits. The 6'7" corner infielder who once was described by Howie Norsetter as having tremendous power is hitting .279/.327/.395 in 46 at bats.

Mayaguez is the team in the Puerto Rican League that most of the organization's players are on. After missing much of last season, Steve Hirschfield picked up his second loss in two decisions on Monday, pitching 7.0 innings with five hits and three runs. Hirschfield has a 4.91 ERA in 25.2 innings with nineteen strikeouts and seven walks. Nelvin Fuentes is having a great winter for last place Mayaguez. Fuentes appeared in four games this week, pitching 4.2 shutout innings with six hits, four strikeouts and a walk. In fourteen games, Fuentes has a 0.64 ERA with thirteen strikeouts and only one walk.

Alexi Casilla and Estarlin De Los Santos are both with Gigantes (17-19, 3.5 games out) in the Dominican Winter League. Casilla is hitting .279/.350/.360 in 111 at bats with five stolen bases in nine attempts. De Los Santos, who is seeing minimal playing time, is 2-6 with his only appearance this week as a pinch runner yesterday.

The largest group of Twins players and prospects are with the Tigres de Aragua (20-20, 2.5 games out) in the Venezuelan League. Anthony Swarzak, who has made only one start in the last month, has a 1-3 record in five starts with a 5.47 ERA. Recently signed Yorman Bazardo has an excellent 5-1 record with a 3.87 ERA in 51.2 innings. Bazardo wasn't good on Thursday when he allowed ten hits and five runs in a 5.0 inning no decision. Josie Mijares made two apperances this week. He has a 1-0 record with three saves, a 0.87 ERA, six strikeouts and two walks in 10.1 innings. Prior to this week, top prospect Cesar Ciurcina had appeared in six games as a reliever. He made his first start yesterday, pitching 5.0 shutout innings with four hits, two strikeouts and three walks. Ciurcina has a 1-0 record with a 1.13 ERA in 16.0 innings with nine strikeouts and ten walks.

Yangervis Solarte is the lone Twin position player seeing regular playing time with the Tigres. He is hitting .269/.367/.404 in 52 at bats. Former Twins Wilson Ramos and Alex Romero are two of the Tigres best hitters. Ramos is hitting .323/.388/.527 in 93 at bats with four home runs and nineteen runs batted in. Romero is hitting .317 average in 126 at bats.

Deolis Guerra made two starts for the league leading Magallanes. On Saturday, Guerra pitched 5.1 shutout innings with four hits, eight strikeouts and one walk in a 4-0 win over Aragua. He returned yesterday to pitch 6.0 innings with six hits, one run, four strikeouts and one walk to pick up his second win in two decisions. Guerra has an excellent 1.33 ERA in five games (three starts) with nineteen strikeouts and only three walks in 20.1 innings.

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