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Twins finalize their 25-man roster

Twins finalize their 25-man roster

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins officially set their 25-man roster on Sunday when they completed their final move by assigning Ruben Sierra to Minor League camp, as was expected.

Sierra has been recovering from a strained right quad and will remain at extended Spring Training until the injury heals.

The Twins really made their final two roster cuts on Saturday, as they optioned infielder Terry Tiffee to Triple-A Rochester and reassigned outfielder Jason Tyner to Minor League camp.

Deciding which players would be the last to go wasn't an easy decision for Gardenhire. Both Tiffee and Tyner had put together some pretty impressive numbers this spring. Tyner was hitting .395 in 22 games with nine RBIs. Tiffee had racked up 10 RBIs with six doubles and a home run over 21 games this spring.

"They both deserved to be on this baseball team," Gardenhire said. "I think everybody knows it. I think if you combine [their batting averages], they hit .900 in Spring Training. It's just unfortunate we don't have enough spots right now."

Saturday's cuts were the ones that were expected, though, after the Twins announced the surprising move on Friday to option shortstop Jason Bartlett to Rochester. Gardenhire decided to go with defense as a priority as he picked Juan Castro to be the Opening Day starter.

Castro, 33, is a career .230 hitter but has been known throughout his career as a strong glove up the middle. Gardenhire said that although Castro will start on Tuesday, he will split time at the position with Nick Punto.

Another surprise is the fact that the Twins have kept Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Lew Ford, who were all battling for the starting right field spot. It still hasn't been decided which of the three will get the Opening Day nod, but it appears that it will be Cuddyer, who started at the position in the Twins' final Grapefruit League game on Saturday.

Cuddyer had missed nine days of game action after straining his left rib cage muscle on March 20. But his bat hasn't seem to be affected, as he blasted a home run for the third straight day, with the first two coming in his two Minor League appearances as a designated hitter.

With Castro and Cuddyer starting on Opening Day, the Twins bench would include Mike Redmond, Luis Rodriguez, Punto, Ford, and Kubel.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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