Robbie Grossman doubled in the fourth inning and singled in the seventh Sunday, his first hits in 10 days. But he probably wishes he hadn’t.
As Grossman sped to second base, he felt a grabbing sensation in his right thigh. “I could feel it right away,” he said after a 6-5 victory over Kansas City. “I told [manager Paul Molitor and athletic trainer Tony Leo] after the inning, but I thought I could play through it.”
He couldn’t. The sensation returned as he ran to first in the seventh, and he was quickly removed for pinch runner Logan Morrison. The injury was diagnosed as a strained right hamstring, and Grossman stayed behind as the Twins left for their flight to Cleveland. He will be placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday.
The injury catches the Twins shorthanded, given that fellow outfielder Byron Buxton is on the disabled list at Class AAA Rochester, Zack Granite is batting only .211 for the Red Wings, and outfield prospect LaMonte Wade just went on the DL last week. The Twins could recall utility player Willians Astudillo, who played outfield during his month in the majors.
Tyler Austin, acquired from the Yankees in the Lance Lynn trade last week, also has experience in the outfield, though he has played only 21 minor league games there in the past three seasons, and just three this year. Austin, 4-for-19 (.211) with two homers for Rochester, has started three major league games in the outfield.
No power, yet
Jorge Polanco thought he had one. The Twins shortstop turned on a 95 mph Danny Duffy fastball and drove it deep to left field. But it hooked as it rose, and passed the pole on the foul side.
Polanco eventually grounded out, and though he had a hit later, he still ended the homestand without a home run. For a guy who clubbed 13 of them last year, that zero in the home run column is glaring.
“I was thinking that when I got here — I want to hit a home run,” Polanco said. “I don’t know why [it’s so important]. Get the first one out of the way, I think. It’s the hardest one.”
But Polanco is hitting .287 since his return from an 80-game steroids suspension, and has six doubles and two triples. He’s become an offensive force again, and with Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier gone, Molitor has returned him to the third spot in the lineup.
“He trusts himself well, especially from the left side. He’s a pretty good two-strike hitter, he knows the zone really well,” Molitor said. “He’s not afraid to take pitchers’ pitches early in the count if it’s not what he’s looking for, because he feels like he can do damage.”
Just not home run damage. Not yet.
“I talked to him about it last week, and I said, ‘Don’t worry about that.’ You can see once in awhile, he’s starting to get big with his swing,” Molitor said. “Just do what you do and the home runs will come.”
That’s what Polanco believes, too. “Right now, when I go to bat, I just think I need to get on base,” Polanco said. “I’m not thinking, hit a homer.”
It’s an experience
Molitor on Fernando Rodney, who pitched a scoreless ninth to protect a one-run lead, despite allowing two singles and a walk: “It was a little tenuous out there. I don’t know — he figures out a way to get it done. It’s a little stressful.”