Twins pick up Blanco's option

Updated: October 15, 2004, 8:21 PM ET
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.

Cristian Guzman
Minnesota Twins
145 8 46 84 10 .274

Guzman, who would've made $5.25 million next year, hit .274 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 2004. He has been plagued by injuries since being named to the All-Star team in 2001.

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 team's only other option at shortstop.

Also Friday, the Twins exercised their $750,000 option for 2005 on catcher Henry Blanco, who hit .206 with 10 homers and 37 RBI 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.

Also, second baseman Luis Rivas had successful arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow.

Mauer had his left knee examined by Dr. Joel Boyd on Friday, and the team felt good about the results.

"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."

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press