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Manship, Benson Optioned; More Roster Moves

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On Monday, the Twins reassigned RHP Brendan Wise to minor league camp. Tuesday morning, the Twins optioned OF Joe Benson and RHP Jeff Manship. They also reassigned INF Pedro Florimon and C Rene Rivera.

None of the moves are completely surprising, and yet it further cements some of the roster spots that remain up for grabs.

Benson had a terrific showing in big league camp. His defense shone as he made it clear that he is the organization's top all-around defensive centerfielder. His aggressiveness and hustle are a mainstay, and that's why it was so surprising yesterday when he popped a single to right and only got to 1B. Offensively, it was a struggle early in camp to make contact, but that improved as more games were played. Look for Benson to play a lot of centerfield in Rochester and be ready to help the Twins when needed.

Manship also had a very solid camp. He was very good in all but one outing this spring. The right-hander has improved his slider, making it a big strikeout pitch. Again, he should go to Rochester and work out of the bullpen because that would be his role with the Twins when they have a need. It was believed that Manship, Alex Burnett, Kyle Waldrop, Jeff Gray and Casey Fien were 'battling' for the one remaining bullpen spot (behind Capps, Perkins, Swarzak, Duensing, Burton and Maloney).

Florimon had a nice camp in that he showed his defensive prowess. He didn't hit much, but did have some extra base pop in AA last year in the Orioles organization. He was battling for a utility infield spot with Michael Hollimon and Sean Burroughs.

Rene Rivera played as well (or better) than other backup catcher candidates JR Towles and Drew Butera, but he is the first one sent to minor league camp. It is still uncertain if Manager Ron Gardenhire will choose to carry three catchers on his roster or not.

With Scott Baker's struggles and the Jason Marquis personal matter, Liam Hendriks remains on the roster in case the team needs someone to make some early season starts.

The team is now at 34 players in big league camp with another nine needing to come off of the roster before the season starts on April 6.

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