The Twins have inked right-hander Casey Lawrence to a minor league deal and assigned him to their alternate training site in St. Paul, per The Athletic’s Dan Hayes (Twitter link). Meanwhile, outfielder Aaron Whitefield has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to the minor leagues. Being outrighted to the minors versus the alternate training site is a notable distinction, as it indicates that Whitefield is no longer in the team’s 60-player pool. He won’t be eligible to return to Minnesota’s pool in 2020 (though he could still technically be traded elsewhere). The Twins had 59 players in their pool.
Lawrence, 32, has seen action in a pair of big league seasons without much success. In 78 2/3 innings between the Blue Jays and Mariners, he was knocked around for a 6.64 ERA with a 66-to-35 K/BB ratio (five of the walks were intentional) and a 48.6 percent grounder rate. However, he also has a career 3.73 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 1.7 BB/9 in parts of five Triple-A seasons.
Lawrence actually signed a minor league deal with Minnesota back in January, although he wasn’t ever included in the team’s player pool and was seemingly cut loose at some point between the conclusion of Spring Training and today’s re-signing. The Twins currently have Zack Littell, Homer Bailey and Rich Hill on the injured list, which prompted the team to select Cory Gearrin’s contract yesterday. Bringing Lawrence into the mix gives them another experienced arm to stash in St. Paul should they need a long reliever at some point.
As for Whitefield, he made just one plate appearance and appeared in three games with the Twins this year. That marked the 23-year-old Aussie’s MLB debut, but he was destined for a limited role from the moment the Twins put him on the Opening Day roster. Whitefield was a late add to Minnesota’s player pool and was carried primarily for pinch-running and late-inning defensive purposes. He’s a career .238/.299/.338 hitter in the minors but has gone 115-for-148 (77.7 percent) in stolen base attempts through just 357 games in the Twins’ system.