DETROIT – Eddie Rosario walked through the clubhouse with a noticeable limp on Tuesday after aggravating his right quadriceps injury Monday as he fielded a ball hit to left field.
When asked how bad it felt, compared to the first time he was injured, the Twins left fielder replied: “It feels the same as last time.”
If that’s the case, Rosario likely will be unable to play in the outfield over the final two weeks of the season, and his ability to be a designated hitter could be in question.
Rosario initially was injured Aug. 30 in Cleveland while running the bases. Monday marked the first time he played in the field since then — 18 days later. This time, there are only 11 days left in the season. He was able to DH seven days after the injury, starting with a Sept. 7 game against Kansas City. If he follows the same recovery path, he could get some swings in next week during the season’s final homestand.
But there’s a chance that Rosario might have appeared in his final game for 2018.
“I don’t know about the chance of him playing again,” manager Paul Molitor said. “I don’t think it’s anything that we want to push too far. If he gets well and he has a chance, we would consider it, but I’m certainly not going to push for it.
“When he did this one originally, there was enough time to try to get him back out there, let him play, maybe even at less than 100 percent. There was enough games. But now, if he doesn’t do anything here at least through the weekend, then we’re looking down at the last week, I’m not sure what the odds are there.”
Rosario is batting .288 with 24 homers and 77 RBI. He has a chance to surpass his 2017 numbers of .290, 27 and 78, which were all career-highs.
The approach to the annual offseason instructional league, in which teams spend a month having prospects work on skills while playing games against other teams, is changing. And the Twins are among the teams shifting how they treat baseball’s version of summer school.
Players used to begin the day working on skills, then finish up with games in the afternoon. The thinking used to be that’s the best way to help them develop, by immediately trying to apply what they were working on in games. Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey noted that more teams are moving away from playing a month’s worth of games to focus on how prospects are being developed.
“Eventually, instructional league became an extension of the regular season for our youngest players,” Falvey said. “Despite our best efforts, it can be hard to focus on a real change with a player in the morning while asking him to compete in a game in the afternoon.”
The Twins’ new plan is to arrange a series of offseason minicamps at the team facilities in Fort Myers, Fla. There will be fewer games in order to focus on skill development that will be tailored to fit individual players.
Over the course of the offseason, the Twins feel they can impact more of their minor-leaguers.
“For some guys that may mean a heavy focus on strength and conditioning,” Falvey said. “For others, it may be defensive work and skill development; and for pitchers it could be the development of an individual pitch.”
Catcher Mitch Garver felt better Tuesday after having a slight setback Monday, but he is still several days away from playing after suffering a concussion last week. He spent Tuesday doing cardio work.
“He’s doing a little better today but I don’t see anything baseball-wise happening here at least through the weekend,” Molitor said. “We’re getting down to the end with him, too, as far as what he’s going to be able to do before we’re done.”