Trevor May threw a changeup to Franmil Reyes in the fifth inning Sunday, and winced. Trainer Masa Abe jogged to the mound with Rocco Baldelli, and the righthander trudged to the dugout.
Eddie Rosario raced toward left-center field in the eighth inning to catch Francisco Lindor’s fly ball, but Byron Buxton arrived at the same time. As Buxton made the catch, Rosario’s arm collided with Buxton’s chest, and Rosario fell to the ground, holding his arm in pain.
Miguel Sano’s neck was bothering him most of the afternoon, so much that “he was having trouble even turning his head,” Baldelli said, and he was removed in the eighth inning.
The playoffs start in two weeks. Will the Twins have any healthy players?
Welcome to Baldelli’s world. Over the next dozen games, he has to balance his impulse to keep his best players healthy and on the bench, but also playing enough to stay sharp.
“Can you accomplish both perfectly? No, I don’t think there’s one right way to do it,” Baldelli said. “Guys don’t stay locked in and get ready to play by sitting on the sidelines for an excessive period of time. So we’re going to continue to play our guys, and rest our guys, in the same fashion we have to this point.”
At least the news was relatively good this day. Sano’s soreness is minor, the manager said, and May’s wasn’t an arm or shoulder injury, it was simply some cramping in his back that disappeared quickly. Rosario has a bruised left elbow, but “he should be OK,” Baldelli said. “I think Rosie was scared and probably felt a jolt. I would call it relatively mild.”
In and out
Max Kepler was ready to be activated from the injured list anyway on Sunday, but the way a roster spot opened for him was regrettable. Brent Rooker’s right arm is in a cast, and he’ll require a surgical procedure to help the fracture in his forearm heal.
“Very unfortunate. He was a very great contributor,” Baldelli said of the rookie outfielder, whose season ended after just seven games when a Zach Plesac changeup struck him just above the wrist on Saturday.
Kepler, his mild groin strain no longer a problem, was back on the roster for the Twins on Sunday, and Baldelli immediately restored him to the leadoff spot. The right fielder went 0-for-4, but just having him healthy again is important, the manager said.
“Getting Kep back, it’s great. Kep obviously is a huge contributor to us on both sides of the ball,” Baldelli said “So being able to pencil him in there and let him go back in right field and let him get back up there and watch him swing the bat is always a good feeling.”
Get well soon
Players aren’t the only ones dealing with health issues. Cleveland manager Terry Francona, absent from Target Field this weekend, has missed more than half of his team’s games this season while fighting a gastrointestinal problem that has afflicted him for more than a year.
His former colleague, Derek Falvey, has been checking on him regularly.
“He’s doing OK. It sounds like he’s navigating it. He’s in better spirits, better health. I’m sure he’s watching every pitch of every game,” said Falvey, the Twins president of baseball operations who worked with him for three seasons in Cleveland. “I’ve half a mind to text him during the game these days, because I’ve never been able to do that before.”
• Former Twins minor leaguer Adam Brett Walker was named Player of the Year by the independent American Association, the only minor league to play this summer. Walker, the Twins’ third-round pick in 2012, hit .268 with 50 RBI and a league-leading 22 home runs for his hometown team, the Milwaukee Milkmen.
• The Twins have been “given some guidance” from MLB, Falvey said, about whether they will be allowed to hold an instructional camp for minor league players this fall. “The hope is that we’re doing something in Fort Myers during the month of October [or] late September,” he said.