CLEVELAND – Oswaldo Arcia’s right hand hurt so much Friday, he grimaced every time he swung the bat. So Ron Gardenhire benched the right fielder on Saturday and sent him to see a doctor.
The prognosis: Nothing serious. Thomas Graham, a hand specialist at Cleveland Clinic, examined Arcia on Saturday and found nothing wrong that a few days of rest won’t cure, assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
“He keeps saying he can swing, but it’s not pretty. That was no good last night,” Gardenhire said of Arcia’s obvious pain as he swung. The Twins believe he injured his hand while hitting in batting cages in Chicago, but “but he’s been trying to play through it. ... The cold temperature is not helping right now.”
Arcia, only 2-for-18 on the season, is expected to miss the next few games, Antony said.
A bullpen puzzle
After spending nearly all of last season with a seven-man bullpen, cutting back to six relievers has been an adjustment, Gardenhire said. Especially since he’s needed three innings or more out of the bullpen every game so far.
“Right now, it’s been hard to get them into their patterns, trying to get them in when they’re supposed to come in,” Gardenhire said. The bullpen has an ERA of 7.79 after five games, worst in the American League.
He chose to subtract a pitching spot and add a bench player to his roster this year, and Gardenhire hopes to stick to that. But “it’s different when you’ve had that one extra guy. It makes a huge difference,” he said. “Having [Ryan] Pressly out there last year, he saved us I don’t know how many times. So I do notice that already. We’ll see how we adjust.”
The temperature was 36 degrees at first pitch Saturday, and a 24-mph wind was howling most of the day.
So Kyle Gibson had to make an adjustment.
“The wind was kind of affecting my sinker a little bit, flattening it out,” the righthander said after becoming the first Twins starter to earn a victory this season. “The changeup was my pitch today. I didn’t really find my slider until the third or fourth inning, so thankfully my changeup was there.”
Gibson walked four, including Jason Kipnis three times, and threw a wild pitch that scored the only run he allowed in five innings. But he was mostly pleased with his 97-pitch, three-hit outing. The runner who scored was the only one who reached third base. Gibson recorded all but two outs via grounders, popups or strikeouts.
• The soreness in Byron Buxton’s left wrist has begun to subside, Antony said, but it will still be at least midweek before the Twins’ top prospect is able to begin baseball activities at the team’s Fort Myers, Fla., headquarters.
• Gardenhire said the T-shirts celebrating his 1,000th win were particularly sentimental to him because they depict him being ejected by Wally Bell, who died last October. “He was a very, very dear friend of mine, so it means a lot to have that T-shirt with Wally on there,” Gardenhire said. “And it’s also a pretty entertaining T-shirt. ”