Twins send Murphy down, cut relievers O'Rourke, Graham
CHICAGO (AP) It was an odd scene Friday in the Minnesota Twins' clubhouse. Three players around a day earlier were gone. Two more still had lockers, even though it was leaked that they had been placed on waivers.
The tumbling Twins began a roster overhaul after a miserable start that's left them with the AL's worst record.
''I'm sure it's a little more tense out there today,'' manager Paul Monitor said. ''But the main thing is we're trying to find a way to move forward here and somehow try to get back on track. I know that when you're 8-20 it's not a good feeling.''
The Twins sent struggling catcher John Ryan Murphy to Triple-A Rochester and designated relievers Ryan O'Rourke and J.R. Graham for release or assignment.
Right-hander Ervin Santana was reinstated from the disabled list, and the contracts of outfielder Darin Mastroianni and catcher Juan Centeno were selected from Rochester. Santana, who had a back strain, will start Saturday against the Chicago White Sox.
Relievers Tommy Milone and Casey Fien had adjacent lockers after numerous reports that they had been placed on waivers and could be gone as soon as Saturday.
''There's my jersey,'' Fien said, pointing to his locker. ''I can't really think too much into it.''
Neither Mastroianni nor Centeno were on the 40-man roster, so O'Rourke and Graham were cut to make room. They could accept a minor-league assignment. Murphy had only three hits in 40 at-bats.
''I'm not really concerned with trying to send a message,'' Molitor said. ''We're trying to do the right things here. I'm sure it makes it a little bit uncomfortable out there today.''
Centeno has appeared in 24 major league games with the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. Mastroianni played for the Twins for parts of three seasons.
Milone was recently dropped from the rotation, while Fien has a 7.90 ERA in 14 relief appearances.
Fien indicated he would consider a minor league assignment if he clears waivers, even though he has the right to refuse one.
''If they still want me here then that's awesome, too,'' Fien said. ''I'll go down there and work on my craft and try to figure out how to not give up 21 hits in 13 innings.''
The bullpen has been one of many trouble spots for the Twins, who won 83 games last year and were in playoff contention until late September.
When Molitor was asked about owner Jim Pohlad's endorsement of him and general manager Terry Ryan in the StarTribune of Minneapolis, Molitor replied, ''I didn't see that'' and wouldn't elaborate.
''We had a good spring, but everybody goes through tough times,'' Centeno said. ''We have to start playing better.''