With Joe Mauer and his wife celebrating the birth of twin girls this week, and Ryan Doumit getting outfield duties, the Twins yesterday recalled Drew Butera. Chris Herrmann has started three of the last four games behind the plate for Minnesota, and due to the shortage of quality players up and down the roster it does seem likely that in the foreseeable future Doumit will remain in the outfield.
Butera's arrival is a bit surprising. Instead of finding a way to add a guy like Antoan Richardson to the outfield to just give the guy a brief audition (which, to be fair, would require designating a guy like Drew for assignment), which would then allow Doumit to shift back to catcher, we're met with a familiar face. The last time we saw Butera with the Twins was so long ago that the Baseball Reference search portal doesn't auto-populate his name; I've bought a new laptop since I last looked up anything about Pavastache's old battery mate.
In 25 games for the Red Wings as their third string catcher (behind Herrmann and Eric Fryer), Butters was batting .215/.247/.316. So - why Butera?
It's entirely speculation on my part, but I think the Twins are going to remove him from the 40-man roster before the end of the season. The production isn't there, even in Triple-A, and at some point in every journeyman's career he gets sifted out so that the organization can keep moving. Minnesota is out of contention and is going to want to continue to audition players down the stretch; no team really needs five catchers on their 40-man roster; it's likely that Butera would go unclaimed when being designated for assignment and could likely remain in Rochester anyway; the Twins need to find some way of opening roster spots so that players can be called up, particularly in September when it blatantly becomes less about 2013 and more about 2014 and beyond.
So maybe the organization viewed this as an opportunity. Joe is out for three days on paternity leave, and with the Twins being known for their loyalty - sometimes to a fault - maybe they see this as Butera's farewell tour. A "thank you" of sorts for three seasons of being the club's backup backstop.
It's all speculation, but whether I'm right or wrong in theory I would still be surprised if we see Butera in a Minnesota Twins uniform again.