The Twins passed right-hander Zack Littell through outright waivers and have assigned him to their alternate training site in St. Paul, tweets Dan Hayes of The Athletic. The move opens a spot on the team’s 40-man roster, which could open a spot for the return of righty Homer Bailey from the 45-day injured list or open a spot to select the contract of a non-roster player.
It would have been hard to imagine Littell clearing waivers a year ago this time and still registers as a bit of a surprise that no team placed a claim. The 24-year-old allowed seven runs through 6 1/3 frames in 2020 but also gave the Twins 37 innings of 2.68 ERA ball in 2019. That included a dominant stretch beginning with his June recall from Triple-A, wherein Littell rattled off 30 2/3 innings with just three runs allowed (0.88 ERA) and a 27-to-8 K/BB ratio. Littell’s velocity remained consistent with its career levels, as he averaged 94.1 mph on his heater in this year’s small sample of work.
Littell remains in the Twins’ 60-man player pool, so he can still be summoned later this season should a need arise, and he’ll still be under the organization’s control beyond the current season.