The Twins announced that they have selected outfielder Andrew Stevenson to take one of the two spots on the expanded active roster, with left-hander Brent Headrick recalled to take the other. To open a spot on the 40-man for Stevenson, infielder José Miranda was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com reported on Stevenson’s promotion prior to the official announcement.
Stevenson, 29, spent his entire career with the Nationals before reaching free agency after last year, after which he signed a minor league deal with the Twins. He’s played 106 games for Triple-A St. Paul this year, hitting 16 home runs and stealing 44 bases. His .317/.394/.522 batting line translates to a wRC+ of 129, indicating he’s been 29% better than league average, even in the heightened offensive environment of this year’s International League.
That strong performance will get Stevenson back to the majors. He already has 248 games of big league experience from his time with the Nats, hitting .248/.322/.365 in that time. He has played all three outfield positions in the majors and with the Saints this year, giving the Twins some extra depth all around the grass.
The club already has a fairly crowded outfield mix, with Michael A. Taylor the regular in center, with Max Kepler, Matt Wallner, Joey Gallo and Jordan Luplow all in the mix for playing time. Byron Buxton recently began a rehab assignment and has started playing center field again, after only serving as the designated hitter so far this year. Taylor is hitting just .228/.280/.417 against righties this year for a wRC+ of 89. That’s led to Gallo playing center on some days of late, but perhaps the lefty-swinging Stevenson could factor in there and push Gallo to a corner or first base.
Even if Stevenson can’t carve out regular playing time, he figures to be a useful bench piece. His 44 steals in Triple-A this year suggest he could be a pinch runner in key situations, at the very least. He won’t be able to reach the three-year service time mark this year, so the Twins could retain him for three more seasons via arbitration if they so choose. He is out of options, however, and can’t be sent back to the minors without first being exposed to waivers.
As for Miranda, he’s already been out of action close to 60 days, having landed on the IL on July 12 due to a right shoulder impingement. He’ll be eligible to be activated in a little over a week but has yet to begin a rehab assignment.