CLEVELAND — The Twins took an unusual round of batting practice on Friday: Just the injured guys.
OK, Willians Astudillo took part, too. But with manager Rocco Baldelli and head athletic trainer Tony Leo watching with unusual interest, Marwin Gonzalez, Jake Cave, Miguel Sano and Max Kepler took an extended session of batting practice, about double the normal length, just to allow Baldelli and Leo a chance to assess their health.
The apparent verdict: Sano and Kepler are well enough to play. Cave and Gonzalez need more time. And Astudillo has his swing back after being forced to accept a walk on Thursday for the first time since late May.
Baldelli waited to write out a lineup until he saw for himself how healthy his hobbled team is, and the result is a lineup that looks reasonably like one he would use if everyone is healthy. C.J. Cron, still feeling the effects of a sore right thumb, is sitting out, but Astudillo is the only player in the lineup who hasn’t started at least 66 games this year.
The other two aren’t far from being ready to play. Cave ran at top speed for the first time today, and said he’ll try running the bases on Saturday as he recovers from a groin injury. Gonzalez has said he could play right now if necessary, but that his oblique injury is not 100 percent yet. The Twins want to wait, just to make certain the chances of him re-injuring his oblique are as minimal as possible.
Ehire Adrianza, on the other hand, won’t be back “for some time,” Baldelli said, which almost certainly means he’ll miss the rest of the regular season with an oblique injury suffered on Thursday.
The Twins and Indians will play at 7:10 (6:10 p.m. Central) as scheduled, which weather forecasters said was doubtful this morning. Rain is expected to hit sometime tonight, but they should have a couple of hours of dry weather, at least. The Twins may be a little tired tonight, having arrived at their hotel at 4:30 a.m. this morning.
Here are the lineups for Game 1 of a three-game showdown between the AL Central’s top two teams: