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Twins sign five to minor league contracts

Image courtesy of the Rochester Red Wings

ROCHESTER – The Minnesota Twins have re-signed right-handed pitcher Ryne Harper and catcher Wynston Sawyer while also signing infielder Randy César and right-handed pitchers Preston Guilmet and Zack Weiss to minor league contracts, Twins Director of Minor League Operations Jeremy Zoll announced.

Harper, 29, spent all of 2018 in the Twins organization while going 1-5 with six saves and a 3.60 ERA. He gave u 61 hits, and of the 34 runs Harper allowed, 26 were earned. He surrendered two homers, hit two batters, issued 10 walks and recorded 86 strikeouts over 65.0 innings in 38 appearances between Double-A Chattanooga and Rochester. Harper was a Southern League mid-season All-Star selection for the Lookouts. The right-hander from Clarksville, Tennessee was originally selected in the 37th round of the 2011 Draft by the Atlanta Braves out of Austin Peay State University. He has also spent time in the Seattle Mariners organization.

Sawyer, 27, appeared in only 36 games between Chattanooga and Rochester before missing the rest of the season due to a left hamate fracture in his left, suffered June 24 while with the Red Wings. He batted .257/.387/.347 with three doubles, two homers, 13 RBI, 16 walks, 21 strikeouts and 17 runs scored in 36 combined games. Sawyer hit his first Triple-A home run on May 7 at Buffalo, a grand slam in the 7th inning that gave the Wings a 4-2 lead. The catcher from San Diego was originally selected in the eighth round of the 2010 Draft by the Baltimore Orioles out of Scripps Ranch High School. Besides the Orioles and Twins systems Sawyer has also spent time in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

César, 23, spent last season with Double-A Corpus Christi (Astros) while batting .296/.348/.428 with 25 doubles, two triples, 10 homers, 62 RBI, 36 walks, 112 strikeouts, three stolen bases and 59 runs scored in 116 games for the Hooks. His .296 average ranked seventh in the Texas League. The corner infielder from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by Houston on July 15, 2011.

Guilmet, 31, opened 2018 with Triple-A Memphis (Cardinals) and would pitch for three other teams: the St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Rochester’s Triple-A rival Buffalo Bisons. He combined to save 11 games and pitch to a 1.60 ERA (6 ER, 33.2 IP) in 24 Triple-A games and went 0-1 with an 11.70 ERA (13 ER, 10 IP) in eight MLB games. The right-handed pitcher from Roseville, California was originally selected in the ninth round of the 2009 Draft by the Cleveland Indians out of the University of Arizona and has also spent time in Japan (2017, Yakult Swallows) and in the Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles organizations.

Weiss, 26, spent the entire 2018 campaign in the Cincinnati Reds organization seeing action at four levels, including the big leagues. He made his MLB debut April 12 vs. St. Louis and combined to go 3-3 with one save and a 5.40 ERA with 24 hits, 20 runs, 15 earned, three homers, 20 walks and 26 strikeouts over 25.0 innings in 21 minor league outings. The right-handed pitcher from Irvine, California was originally selected in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft by Cincinnati out of UCLA.

Minnesota will announce all minor league signees who receive an invite to spring training later.

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