Twins trade Graham to Yanks for PTBN or cash

Reliever had previously been designated for assignment

Twins trade Graham to Yanks for PTBN or cash

CLEVELAND -- After designating reliever J.R. Graham for assignment on May 6, the Twins traded him to the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash on Saturday.

Graham, 26, had a 10.80 ERA at both Triple-A Rochester and with the Twins this year, giving up 10 runs in 8 1/3 innings with Rochester and two runs in 1 2/3 innings with Minnesota. He was a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Braves last season, posting a 4.95 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 21 walks in 63 2/3 innings for Minnesota in 2015.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said the decision to trade Graham was more because of a roster crunch than due to his performance this season. The Twins needed to clear roster space on their 40-man for outfielder Darin Mastroianni and catcher Juan Centeno last week.

"You bring a Rule 5 guy over, and we were able to keep him -- he had some really nice runs for us," Molitor said. "We ran into some roster situations this year. It's not the best of scenarios, where you keep a guy and then you can't find a way to keep him the next year. That probably doesn't happen too often. But that's the situation we found ourselves in. You put a guy out there and a lot of times, you have him either claimed or you find a way to move him."

Molitor added that he had the chance to talk to Graham by phone on Saturday after the trade, as he had been spending time with his family in Livermore, Calif., after being designated for assignment.

"I wish him well," Molitor said. "He's been in California for the last week or so, trying to stay ready. I know he's excited about the opportunity."

Worth noting
• The Twins signed infielder Tommy Field to a Minor League contract and assigned him to Triple-A Rochester. Field, who has played parts of four seasons in the Majors, including a stint with the Rangers last year, was hitting .162/.295/.189 with Triple-A Toledo before being released by the Tigers on May 6.

• Right-hander Kyle Gibson, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 23 with a right shoulder strain, threw a bullpen session without any issues on Friday, and he is scheduled to throw another one on Monday. He'll then throw live batting practice on Thursday, once the Twins get back from the road trip. If all goes well, he could head out on a rehab assignment after that.

• Closer Glen Perkins, on the DL retroactive to April 11 with a left shoulder strain, continues to throw off flat ground and remains on track to throw his first bullpen session on May 23. He'll need a few bullpen sessions before going on a rehab assignment.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.