By Joe Christensen
ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The Twins have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, General Manager Bill Smith said today.
The move, first reported at www.sethspeaks.net, gives the Twins another option at second base, though Grudzielanek hasn’t played all season.
Smith said Grudzielanek will report to the Twins’ Gulf Coast League squad in Fort Myers, Fla., and then join one of the Twins’ minor-league affiliates.
Grudzielanek, 39, batted .299 with three home runs and 24 RBI in 86 games for the Royals last season. He has batted .294 or better every year since 2003, and has racked up 2,010 hits over 14 major league seasons, posting a .290 career average.
Grudzielanek was a Type B free agent last offseason, so he wouldn’t have cost teams a first-round draft pick, but apparently didn’t get an offer he liked. (Corrected.) He made $4.5 million last season with the Royals.
“He has a tremendous history over the last seven or eight years,” said Smith, who is following Class A Fort Myers this weekend. “He’s an offensive player. He hasn’t played in the first half. We’ll see how he does.
“We are still hoping Alexi Casilla is going to take the second base job and run with it. That’s our first choice, that he can bring energy and spark our lineup. This gives us another option.”
Casilla, who turns 25 on Monday, is batting .175. He has been sent to Class AAA Rochester twice this season and is 1-for-9 in two games in his latest return.
Twins second basemen — Casilla, Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert — have combined to bat .190 with a .270 on-base percentage and a .242 slugging percentage. Each of those totals rank dead last among 30 MLB teams.