FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Chris Parmelee spent the past two seasons shuttling back and forth between the big leagues and the minors. Following Minnesota's offseason trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere, Parmelee hopes to become the Twins' starting right fielder.
"I'm not worried about Chris Parmelee at all right now," manager Ron Gardenhire said Saturday. "Parmelee is fine. He's been around with us enough. I think he's totally comfortable. I'm looking forward to watching him play. I think he's going to have a really good year for us."
The 24-year-old Parmalee, taken with the 20th selection on the first round of the 2006 amateur draft from Chino Hills High School in California, hit .229 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 64 games last season for the Twins. Parmelee fared much better at Triple-A, batting .338 with 17 homers and 49 RBIs in 64 games for the Rochester Red Wings.
"You're not happy with the times you're sent down. But when you look back, you realize it might have been what was best for you at the time," Parmalee said. "There's a reason I got sent down. There were things I needed to work on. It helped me become a more complete ballplayer."
Parmelee rose through the minor leagues as a first baseman. He understood that as long as Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP, stayed with the Twins, he would have to find another position.
The absence of Morneau because of a concussion in 2011 gave Parmelee his first big-league opportunities. Parmelee played 21 games for the Twins at first base in 2011 and 38 games at first for the Twins in 2012.
"First base is manned right now by a pretty good first baseman," Parmelee said. "So I'm looking forward to taking that spot out in right. The more positions you can play, the better. If I were only a first baseman, the opportunity I have now wouldn't have presented itself. If you can play more than one position, more power to you. It's not easy. Being left handed, I'm on first base, I'm on the mound, or I'm in the outfield."
Speaking on the day of the team's first full-squad workout, Morneau said he was impressed with Parmelee, who started 16 games in right field last season after Morneau's return from post-concussion problems.
"Hopefully, the comfort level will be there," Morneau said. "He surprised me with his arm from right field. He has a real good arm. There's one play that sticks out in my mind. He should be fine. I'm looking forward to seeing him get 450, 500 at-bats and seeing how he does."
Parmelee will go through spring training as if he were competing for that right field job.
"I know that no decision is made up until that last day of camp," Parmelee said. "That keeps me hungry, and that keeps me fighting for that spot."
Notes: Gardenhire said Brian Dozier, who entered camp as a candidate at SS and 2B, will get more work at second base. "That's probably where he has the most work to do," the manager said, adding he has liked Pedro Florimon's abilities at shortstop. "Once he played against a team multiple times, he had a real good feel for where they were going to hit the ball and how to play them. I really liked that," Gardenhire said. "He's got the hands and the arm strength. He's very acrobatic."