Twins decline option on Guzman contract

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins declined their 2005 option on shortstop Cristian Guzman's contract on Friday, which makes the sixth-year player eligible for free agency.

Guzman, who would have made $5.25 million next season, hit .274 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs. After being named to the All-Star team in 2001, Guzman has been plagued by injuries that have reduced the impact he's had on the bases.

But this was Guzman's most consistent season. He could be brought back, if the price is right and Guzman -- who has indicated he'd like to stay -- wants to remain in Minnesota.

"That's a possibility," general manager Terry Ryan said.


Rookie Jason Bartlett is currently the only other option at shortstop in the organization.

Also Friday, the Twins exercised their $750,000 option for 2005 on catcher Henry Blanco. Blanco hit .206 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs while filling in for injured rookie Joe Mauer.

Infielder Jose Offerman and catcher Pat Borders elected for free agency when they declined their assignments to be outrighted to Triple-A Rochester. Left-handed reliever Aaron Fultz was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies. And second baseman Luis Rivas had successful arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow.

Mauer had his left knee looked at by Dr. Joel Boyd on Friday, and the examination revealed no red flags. Mauer, who had surgery in April and was limited to just 35 games, had complained of persistent soreness after beginning instructional league play in Florida last weekend.

"Everything structurally is fine," Ryan said. "We went to another level on this, and we got another level of comfort. That's what I wanted to hear."

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