Marwin Gonzalez, the Twins’ multi-positional everyday player, returned to the lineup on Monday for the first time since Aug. 27, when he went down because of an abdominal/oblique strain.
“I’m super excited,” said Gonzalez, who was injured during a game in Chicago against the White Sox. “I was actually, when I went to bed [Sunday], I knew I would have a chance to start today. I was super happy.”
The Twins not only get back a player they can use all over the field, they get one who is batting .263 with 15 home runs and 43 RBI. He said he wasn’t going to try to swing too hard upon his return, and proved it Monday when he lined a single to right field in the second inning, his only hit in four at-bats in a 5-3 victory over the White Sox.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli batted Gonzalez in the No. 8 hole in the order Monday, one of six Twins who could hit lefthanded. Lefties were batting .288 against Chicago righthander Reynaldo Lopez entering the game.
“He’s been close to being able to play for a while, but with these types of injuries, you want to make sure and always give a guy a little bit of extra time to make sure he’s feeling good,” Baldelli said.
Cron needs time
The time is right for a Gonzalez return.
“He’s kind of like he fixes a lot of things all by himself,” Baldelli said, “so having him out there is really important.”
Once again Monday, the Twins wanted to give first baseman C.J. Cron time to rest his bruised right thumb. Cron has tried to play through the discomfort but feels it during certain swings. And he is batting only .158 this month, with no home runs and one RBI, having started only nine games.
With Gonzalez back and able to join Willians Astudillo and Miguel Sano as first base options, the time is right to give Cron a couple of days off.
“Rocco has found some spots for him to get some rest during this stretch,” Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said. “And now with Marwin coming back we can gain a couple of extra days for him from time to time.”
Adrianza wants in
Gonzalez’s return gives them cover at multiple positions and up and down the batting order. His return is particularly timely, as utility player Ehire Adrianza is out because of an oblique strain suffered on his first swing Thursday against Washington.
Adrianza was believed to be done for the regular season — even he thought so — but that might not be the case, as the strain is milder than first thought.
Adrianza is even looking ahead to the weekend, when he wants to start swinging a bat and preparing to be available during the last season-ending road trip to Detroit and Kansas City.
“I think I’m going to start with some flips, some work on the tee” he said. “Like I say, it depends how I feel. I know my body pretty well. I know it’s not as bad as expected. I think, like I say, I’m going to play before the season ends.”
Adrianza’s optimism is commendable, but the Twins are going to be careful with him. Gonzalez missed 18 games with a similar injury.
“The timeline for return for those players is all just dependent upon how they respond to the rehab activities,” Falvey said. “A lot of core work, a lot of movement, and then if they respond well and they progress as necessary, in each guy’s case, it’s just an individual approach. But we have a few weeks. I think it’s possible, but we’re just going to be thoughtful about that.”
No Giolito on Wednesday
The White Sox announced Monday that All-Star Lucas Giolito has a mild lat strain that will end his season, meaning he won’t face the Twins for a fifth time in 2019 on Wednesday night.
The righthander is 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA, and his 228 strikeouts are tied for fourth in the AL. His 14th victory was perhaps his most impressive; he threw a three-hit shutout at Target Field on Aug. 21, striking out 12 and walking none.
Lefthander Ross Detwiler — who’s 2-5 with a 6.79 ERA but beat the Twins on June 28 — starts Wednesday instead.