MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins optioned prized prospect Alex Kirilloff to their alternate training site on Tuesday, leaving a wide-open competition for playing time in left field while giving the 2016 first-round draft pick more time to develop.
Jake Cave, Kyle Garlick and Brent Rooker are the primary candidates at that position, vacated when Eddie Rosario was not tendered a contract during the off-season . Luis Arraez, a natural infielder who has moved into a super-sub role this year, has also been in the mix in left field.
Excluding Kirilloff from the major league roster to start the season will of course allow the Twins to keep his service time clock from running and potentially delay his eligibility for free agency by a year, an issue that has become increasingly tense between the clubs and the players following the union's loss of a grievance against the Chicago Cubs for holding back third baseman Kris Bryant as a rookie in 2015.
Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey told reporters on Sunday that service time wouldn't factor into the decisions about the roster.
Kirilloff has four hits in 31 at-bats with one home run and eight strikeouts in spring training exhibitions, which didn't help his cause to make the team out of camp.
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Dave Campbell, The Associated Press