Willingham has broken bone, but it's not a big one

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 14, 2014 - 12:20 AM

Left fielder Josh Willingham has a small broken bone in his left wrist, but the Twins hope their cleanup hitter can return in another week or so.

Photo: Mark Duncan, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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There’s a fracture in the pisiform bone of Josh Willingham’s left wrist, Twins doctors discovered Saturday, but the bone and the break are both so small, the Twins hope their cleanup hitter can return in another week or so.

Willingham, hit on the wrist by a Justin Masterson pitch April 6, will consult with hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, the same doctor who examined Oswaldo Arcia’s sore wrist last week in Cleveland. The Twins “don’t believe this is anything that is going to be long-lasting, or long-term,” said assistant General Manager Rob Antony. “We’re hopeful that when the 15 days [on the disabled list] are up, he’ll be ready to go.”

That would put his return on April 29 at Tampa Bay. Willingham is not in any significant pain, Antony said, but it creates a nagging soreness that the Twins want to go away before they activate the outfielder.

X-rays taken in Cleveland found no broken bones, but when swelling appeared this week and didn’t subside, the Twins ordered a CT scan on the hand, one that uncovered a tiny fracture in the pea-sized bone at the base of the wrist.

Arcia, meanwhile, sounded frustrated Sunday when asked about his wrist. “Still not swinging a bat,” he said of the right-wrist soreness that only bothers him when he tries to swing at inside pitches. “Maybe four more days, then I’ll hit in the cages.”

Gardenhire returns

Ron Gardenhire returned to the dugout Sunday after a long and emotional couple of days. The Twins manager traveled to Poland, Ohio, for the funeral of Michael Hirschbeck, the 27-year-old son of umpire John Hirschbeck who died Tuesday after a long battle with adrenoleukodystrophy, a rare disease of the nervous system.

“This kid was very special to me. I spent a lot of time with him, so I wanted to be there,” said Gardenhire, who befriended the umpire’s son during his many trips to the Metrodome or spring training, and had him serve as batboy several times. “He liked to play jokes on people, liked to prank people. If he had your phone number, you were going to get a lot of calls. He was a good kid and he touched a lot of people’s lives.”

Etc.

Eduardo Nunez, the shortstop acquired from the Yankees last week, homered during Class AAA Rochester’s doubleheader Saturday, and he played right field Sunday. Gardenhire hinted that Nunez might be getting close to a call-up, saying: “I like [our] group on the bench, but we also have Nunez getting ready down there. He looks like he’s swinging. We’re going to have some big decisions to make here.” Shortstop Pedro Florimon is 2-for-30 this season, though his walk started the Twins’ winning eighth-inning rally Sunday.

• Righthander Matt Guerrier will join Class AA New Britain, another milestone on what he hopes is a path back to the majors after surgery on his forearm in August. “He’s healthy, he’s throwing all his pitches, he’s pitched back-to-back [games],” Antony said. “We wanted to keep him in Fort Myers so he was in a controlled environment where it was warm. The weather [in Connecticut] is hopefully starting to break now.” The 35-year-old, who pitched for the Twins from 2004 to 2010, signed a minor league contract at the end of spring training.

• Gardenhire, on the difficulty of attending funerals, weddings, reunions and other events while working a major league schedule: “I missed my daughter’s high school graduation because we were in California. I didn’t come back for it, and she said, ‘It’s fine.’ But I hear about it every year, so obviously, it wasn’t fine.”

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