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01/11/08 6:10 PM ET
Twins name Spring Training invitees
Day, Keisler and Duensing among group headed to camp
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Twins starting rotation is expected to be very young in 2008, the club at the very least will have the presence of some veteran starting pitchers during Spring Training. The Twins announced their 2008 non-roster Spring Training invitees on Friday, and included in the 17 players invited to Fort Myers, Fla., are right-hander Zach Day and left-hander Randy Keisler. Both were signed to Minor League deals earlier this week. Day, 29, went 18-19 with a 4.01 ERA while pitching for the Expos from 2002-04. He pitched in 12 games for the organization after it moved to Washington in 2005 before being traded to Colorado. Day underwent rotator cuff surgery in June 2006, and he signed a Minor League deal with the Royals prior to last season. The right-hander made nine starts for Triple-A Omaha in 2007, going 1-1 with a 3.93 ERA. He will give the Twins a veteran to compete for a rotation spot this spring, but he very well could start the year at Triple-A Rochester. Keisler, who turns 32 in February, has made 55 Major League appearances since 2000. He holds a 6.63 career ERA and 4-4 record over that span. The lefty pitched in four games for the Cardinals last season, which included three starts, and had a 5.19 ERA. Joining Day and Keisler in camp will be five other pitchers. Highlighting that group is left-hander Brian Duensing, the Twins' third-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, who will be attending his first Major League camp. One of the club's top pitching prospects, Duensing was a combined 15-6 with a 3.07 ERA in stints at Rochester and Double-A New Britain last season. The southpaw also pitched for Team USA in the World Baseball Cup. He started the championship game, in which the United States won its first gold medal since 1974. Rounding out the list of pitchers are left-handers Ricky Barrett and Mariano Gomez and right-handers Casey Daigle and Armando Gabino. Six infielders were included in the non-roster invitees: Chris Basak, Howie Clark, Alejandro Machado, Felix Molina, Randy Ruiz and Tommy Watkins. Of the six, only Basak and Watkins saw time in the big leagues last season. Basak played in five games for the Yankees in 2007 and was claimed off waivers by the Twins in August. Watkins batted .357 in nine games with the Twins in '07. Among the other invitees are three catchers: Drew Butera, Allan de San Miguel and Eli Whiteside. Free-agent signee Jon Knott, who inked a Minor League deal with the club in late November, is the only outfielder extended an invitation. Twins pitchers and catchers are set to report to the Lee County Sports Complex on Sunday, Feb. 17, with their first workout taking place the next day. Position players will report on Friday, Feb. 22, and the first full-squad will take place on Saturday, Feb. 23.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.