Let’s talk about all these Twins injuries and bat around the idea of calling up another phenom, sure.
But first, can we talk about my “dad injury” for a moment?
See, on Sunday night my 2-year-old was playing a game where she jumps off the edge of the couch onto the main part of the couch, with extra pillows stacked onto it (parenting level: Questionable but fun dad, in allowing this in the first place. Would it help to know that’s she’s almost 3?)
She had done this a few times successfully. But she wanted Mom to see her do it. So she launched herself one last time. On this occasion, she flew too close to the sun – bouncing off the back cushion first and creating a launch angle/trajectory that sent her headed toward falling off the couch next.
I lunged to keep her from falling, making a heroic mid-air grab (parenting level: high), but in the process I did something to my left shoulder that just isn’t good (dad level: Off the charts).
I took some ibuprofen before bed, and it felt somewhat better as I nodded off. When I woke up this morning, basic movements made me wince. I don’t know if it’s a pinched nerve or a muscle strain or what. But it is a full-on dad injury, combining active parenting with a brain that thinks the body is still 24 and not 42.
And so: I have a renewed, visceral appreciation for Twins players and their various ailments. If I had to swing a bat today instead of just clicking keys with my fingers, I couldn’t do my job. I’d probably need a few days off and be listed officially as “day-to-day (shoulder).”
The Twins have a lot of guys who fit into that “day-to-day” category, and the cumulative weight of those nagging injuries has put the team in an interesting though not-yet-precarious spot.
With 19 games left in their regular season, they entered Monday with a 5.5-game division lead. That’s big enough that they can be cautious with banged-up players – giving them an extra day, sometimes more, to heal – but not so big that they can just coast to the finish line while tuning up for the playoffs.
That’s particularly true this week, with the Twins facing the Nationals and then Cleveland before their schedule softens for the final 13 games against Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit.
The attrition is particularly bad in the outfield, between Byron Buxton (shoulder, relatable), Max Kepler, Jake Cave and Marwin Gonzalez dealing with various things.
It’s enough that Twins fans, who had their prospect thirst temporarily slaked by the Brusdar Graterol call-up, are now clamoring for Minnesota to bring up outfielder Alex Kirilloff. The 21-year-old fast riser hit home runs in four consecutive Class AA playoff games, and Pensacola’s season just ended Sunday.
On the latest Twins Insider podcast (shameless plug: please listen and subscribe), La Velle E. Neal III shot down my mention of this, saying he thinks there’s “zero” chance of a Kirilloff call-up.
But the mere idea that we’re talking about this as a possibility – outside of those who clamor for prospects no matter what – reflects the Twins’ reality.
The Twins got here with bombas. They’re trying to duct tape their way through September in hopes that they can keep their season from swan diving off a couch and onto the floor.
And hey: Kirilloff is half my age, so at least he probably wouldn’t hurt his shoulder like I did.