Something didn't look right in the fourth inning when Mitch Garver grounded out to third base. He struggled running down the line, to the extent that Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert noticed and took his time setting up and throwing to first.
But Garver stayed in the game. So I thought I was imagining things. Garver even batted in the seventh inning and flied out to right field.
Then Willians Astudillo had to move from third to catcher before the Royals batted in the seventh. The Twins later announced that Garver had a sore left heel and was day-to-day.
"Mitch is actually doing OK. We took him out for precautionary reasons," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He has some heel soreness and for now we're going to treat him. We're going to look at him, check him out tomorrow when he shows up, see how he's doing."
Garver said the fourth inning was when he started to feel it.
"Just, I mean running down the base in my second at-bat, it felt a little tweaky on my ankle," he said. "I was able to catch. I was able to catch. I was able to do everything fine. I don’t think the ankle affected my swings or anything. I got Odo through (four). Had Kohl (Stewart) out there for another two and then Roc just made a decision to get me out of the game. Came in, checked out my ankle. Literally the ankle was just jammed up."
Garver caught all 17 innings of the marathon against the Red Sox on Tuesday. Afterward he said he felt good and credited the conditioning work he does in the offseason. But the heel injury suggests that the game did come with a little price to pay.
"17 innings didn’t help and playing that last tough series against the Red Sox didn’t help either," Garver said. "It’s a good team. We’re in here grinding right now trying to get to this off day but at the same time, I think we’re playing good baseball. We hit the ball really hard today. Nothing fell for us. They came out with a good plan to attack Odo and they kind of jumped him early."
Garver said he felt much better after the game, and the Twins will follow up with him on Friday. It was just before the game on Thursday that Baldelli spoke about playing the next few games in hot and humid KC weather, and how it helped to have a three-headed force at catcher. Now he has to monitor Garver, who impacts the game behind as well as at the plate for the Twins.