For whatever reason, Terry Ryan has been extremely reluctant to call up catcher Jose Morales from Triple-A, even though Rochester's season is done. However, the injuries to Joe Mauer and Mike Redmond have forced the general manager's hand, and the Twins announced yesterday that Morales will be joining the Twins in time for their series opener against the White Sox tonight.
This is very good news as far as I'm concerned. I see no reason why Morales should not be getting playing time with the Twins here in the final months of the season. The 24-year-old finished fourth in the International League in batting average at .311. He posted a solid 44/30 strikeout-to-walk ratio and hit 25 doubles, although he managed only two homers in 376 at-bats. Morales is a converted second-baseman who is considered a bit raw behind the plate, but he has a strong arm, and in a lost season like this one I see no reason not give him some experience receiving the Twins' big-league pitchers.
The Twins had an open spot on the 40-man roster, and it was pertinent that they add him by the offseason because if they didn't they would lose him as a sixth-year minor-leaguer. That's just not something you want to happen with a guy who hits well at the highest level of the minors and plays a position of weakness in your organization.
Now that Morales is here, the question is whether or not he will actually play. Judging by Ron Gardenhire's tendencies this season, I would not be at all surprised to see Chris Heintz playing regularly over Morales, which would really be unfortunate. This is a time where Gardy should be feeding steady playing time to Morales, Brian Buscher and Alexi Casilla to find out if they can be looked at to contribute for next season. All three players performed well in the minors, and this is the perfect time to see how they handle the transition to the majors.