DETROIT – Sam Fuld swears he saw ostriches in the outfield during his rehab stint this week. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sign his concussion had returned.
Fuld returned to the Twins on Friday, having batted 6-for-14 with a homer, two doubles and two RBI during his four games with the Class AA New Britain Rock Cats, and tested himself every way he could think of. “I did a lot of running, in the outfield, on the bases, a lot of first to third,” the veteran outfielder said. “I was out of breath a lot.”
Manager Ron Gardenhire would like him to stay that way. The outfielder will get plenty of playing time, Gardenhire said, now that Aaron Hicks has been placed on the disabled list because of a strained right shoulder.
“I’d be comfortable starting Fuld,” Gardenhire said. “He’s ready to play.”
Will Danny Santana continue to get most of the starts in center field?
“We’ll see,” Gardenhire said.
Hicks wasn’t ready to play, and the Twins decided not to wait any longer for his sore shoulder, injured when he made a diving catch on Sunday, to heal. An MRI taken Thursday showed no structural damage, but Hicks remains unable to throw. The injury probably kept Hicks in the major leagues, because the Twins were prepared to option him to Class AAA Rochester if he was healthy.
For Fuld, it’s a relief to put the unsteadiness and sensitivity to light and noise that he’s felt since going on the concussion list on May 8 behind him.
“It’s been awhile, but I’m back to normal,” he said. “You never feel perfect, but I feel as good now as I have all year.”
He even enjoyed his rehab stint, which took him to Reading, Pa. — where live ostriches, which serve as the Fightin’ Phils’ mascot, are kept in cages adjacent to the outfield.
“You don’t see that every day,” he laughed.
Dozier sits out
In retrospect, Brian Dozier said, “I don’t know if I should have played that last game in Toronto.” His back was already getting sore from playing on the bouncy fake turf at Rogers Centre, and then a collision with shortstop Eduardo Escobar made it worse.
By the time the Twins arrived in Detroit, he couldn’t bend over, straighten up to throw, or swing a bat without pain in his lower back, and Friday, he told Gardenhire he couldn’t play.
“I even made it clear to Gardy I wouldn’t be any help coming off the bench,” Dozier said. “It’s not fun at all.”
Dozier saw a chiropractor Friday morning, and hopes to play Saturday or Sunday.
Fryer the choice
When the Twins decided to send catcher Josmil Pinto to Class AAA to get more at-bats, they considered bringing Chris Herrmann back for a third stint behind Kurt Suzuki this season. But he missed a week because of a wrist injury, and Eric Fryer is considered a better defensive player.
“I try to go out there, call a good game, and for the most part, just keep everything going in the right direction,” Fryer said. “I’ll try to get up to speed as quick as possible with Kurt — what’s working, what to look for with guys as far as mechanics.”
Lefthanded reliever Matt Hoffman was released by Rochester on Friday, about two weeks before he planned to opt out of his contract on July 1.
The Twins needed a roster spot in order to activate Herrmann, and Hoffman’s contract gave him the option of becoming a free agent next month if he wasn’t in the majors, an option he told the Twins he planned to exercise.