The Twins announced Friday morning that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Kyle Garlick from Triple-A St. Paul and designated right-hander Dereck Rodriguez for assignment in a corresponding move.
Garlick, 30, opened the 2021 season as a fourth outfielder with the Twins and posted a .232/.280/.466 batting line in 107 trips to the plate. Primarily deployed against southpaws, he turned in a much more robust .271/.302/.576 batting line in 59 trips to the plate in such situations. Garlick landed on the 10-day injured list a couple of times — the first for a positive Covid test and the second for a sports hernia that eventually required surgery and ended his season. Minnesota passed him through waivers after the season, but Garlick will now return and presumably occupy a similar part-time role, perhaps splitting time with Trevor Larnach in left field while Alex Kirilloff is on the shelf with continued wrist troubles.
It proved to be a short stay with the big league club for Rodriguez, the son of Hall of Fame catcher and a former Twins prospect who made his way back to the organization by way of a minor league deal this offseason. Rodriguez tossed four innings of long relief against the Dodgers earlier this week, tossing three scoreless frames before being tagged for back-to-back-to-back home runs off the bats of Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux and Austin Barnes. He finished that lone appearance as a Twin with three runs through four innings pitched.
Now 29 years old, Rodriguez was a sixth-round pick by Minnesota back in 2011 but didn’t make his MLB debut until 2018, after he’d signed with the Giants as a minor league free agent. He turned in a stellar rookie campaign, logging 118 1/3 innings of 2.81 ERA ball, but Rodriguez has just a 5.97 ERA in 107 big league innings since that time.
Rodriguez averaged 92 mph on his heater in that one-off appearance this year. He’s generally posted below-average strikeout and ground-ball rates but been better than average when it comes to limiting free passes. He’s also optionable for the remainder of the 2022 season, which could enhance his appeal to another club in need of some upper-level pitching depth. The Twins will have a week to trade Rodriguez, pass him through outright waivers or release him.