Twins' injuries bury season in world of hurt

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 28, 2011 - 2:59 PM

The idea that this was a season doomed by injuries did not become official until last weekend.

hide

Just when the Twins were starting to get injured players back last week, it was announced that first baseman Justin Morneau would require neck surgery and would miss several weeks.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The 2010 Twins had injury problems that included first baseman Justin Morneau missing the last three months of the schedule because of a concussion. He finished eighth on the club with 348 plate appearances.

Even with Morneau's long absence, the 10 most-used players on that club took 76.3 percent of the plate appearances.

The 2011 Twins opened the season on April 1 in Toronto. Joe Mauer was the catcher; Morneau, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Alexi Casilla and Danny Valencia made up the infield, and Delmon Young, Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer were the outfield. Jason Kubel was the designated hitter, with Jim Thome in reserve.

Those were the 10 players that the Twins hoped would get roughly 80 percent of the plate appearances and provide a robust attack.

There were numerous exhibitions missed by key players, yet the Twins opened the season without a player on the disabled list. General Manager Bill Smith talked optimistically about having a "healthy ballclub."

The Twins were playing the final game of that first road trip April 7 in Yankee Stadium. Nishioka was wiped out trying to turn a double play and suffered a broken leg.

The second road trip started in Tampa Bay on April 14. Mauer came to the park with sore legs and feeling ill. Morneau also became sick that weekend and missed a week without going on the disabled list.

Mauer joined Nishioka on the DL that night. Starting then, the Twins have not had fewer than two of their 10 key position players on the disabled list.

They had four of those players on the DL for a week in early June. They peaked with six of those 10 on the DL from June 10 to June 15.

On Monday, they opened a nine-game homestand with four on the DL. Morneau is out for two months, minimum, for neck surgery. Young is out indefinitely because of a damaged ankle. Span is out because of post-concussion symptoms. Kubel is heading for a rehab assignment after missing all month due to a sprained foot.

The fact the Twins are buried at double digits under .500 is not a reflection of a lack of depth in the minor league system. The fact they are careening to their second losing season in 11 years is not a reflection of failed strategy from manager Ron Gardenhire or a lack of clubhouse leaders.

The Twins would have been better served during Mauer's long absence if they had held onto catcher Wilson Ramos, or even Jose Morales, and it would be great if there was a no-brainer, get-him-to-Minnesota hitter at either Class AAA Rochester or Class AA New Britain.

There has been the usual quibble here and there with a Gardenhire move, and I've always been of the view that leadership is a bases-loaded double.

There's no farm system that could mend this many wounds created by injuries. There's no manager who could plot or no clubhouse leader who could inspire to fill this many holes.

The idea that this was a season doomed by injuries did not become official until last weekend.

Mauer and Nishioka had returned June 15. Thome and pitcher Joe Nathan would be joining the team in Milwaukee. Morneau's cast was coming off his left wrist and Kubel was ready to rehab in games.

It looked as if Span might be a one-man band on the disabled list by the time the Twins returned to Target Field.

And then:

On Friday, the Twins announced that Morneau would require neck surgery and would miss several weeks. On Saturday, Young crashed into the left-field wall at Miller Park and put his right ankle through an ugly contortion.

Gardenhire was asked before Monday's game about the run of injuries and where this left him in assessing his ballclub.

"We haven't been able to have the same team out there to have a handle on it," he said. "There have been a lot of different parts we've had to fill in."

The 10 key players have made 70.1 percent of the Twins' plate appearances -- and that number isn't going to get better any time soon.

There's a difference between making an excuse and looking at reality, and the reality is the Twins' season has been ruined by an unrelenting run of injuries to key players.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. • preusse@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Twins loss is record-breaking ugly

    Tuesday June 28, 2011

    Making the team payroll might prove to be a challenge for the Dodgers, but solving Twins pitching was anything but difficult.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ArizonaJ. Collmenter (10-8)000
MinnesotaR. Nolasco (5-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 1 2nd Prd
NY Islanders 1
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close