BALTIMORE – Mitch Garver was in so much pain after being hit in the groin by a foul ball Tuesday, the Twins decided to send him to a hospital to be checked out. They are glad they did.
After an ultrasound scan, doctors determined the catcher needed surgery on a particularly sensitive area, and he remained at University of Maryland Medical Center overnight. Garver was placed on the 10-day injured list, and he will need a few weeks to recover, manager Rocco Baldelli said.
"This is about as painful a situation as you could ever see. This is beyond painful," Baldelli said. "It's obviously a delicate thing to talk about. It's trauma to the groin area, [and] that's what we're going to leave it as right now."
Garver spent Wednesday's game at the team's hotel, then joined the team for their flight to Kansas City. He will return to Minneapolis to begin recuperation on Thursday.
In his place, Ryan Jeffers returned to the Twins after spending May with Class AAA St. Paul. Jeffers will handle much of the catching load for now, Baldelli said, with Ben Rortvedt and Willians Astudillo getting occasional starts.
The circumstances aren't ideal, Jeffers said, but he's a better player now than when he was sent down with a .147 average. On Wednesday he drove in the Twins' first two runs — on a solo homer in his first at-bat and on his first career triple in the eighth.
"It really gave me the opportunity to dig in on myself, dig in on my swing, just really hone in on things. When you're playing every day, you can find a rhythm and really start getting your timing," said Jeffers, whose homer was the first of his career away from Target Field. "I'm in a really good spot right now."
Welcome to the bigs
When Thad Levine was assistant general manager with the Rangers, he tried to sign 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Gilberto Celestino, but the Astros outbid Texas with a $1.6 million offer.
"But I knew back then he was going to be a big leaguer," Levine said with evident pride Wednesday, as he watched Celestino prepare for his major league debut. The Twins GM helped negotiate the trade that brought Celestino and Jorge Alcala from Houston for reliever Ryan Pressly in 2018 Now both acquisitions are in the majors.
Not that Celestino, now 22, saw it coming, even though the Twins had him clear COVID-19 protocols Monday, just in case. He had suited up Tuesday to make his Class AAA debut for the Saints, but the game was rained out at Louisville. Then he learned he would be making a debut at a whole other level.
"It was a big surprise when they called" Tuesday, the rookie said. "I called my mom, my family, everybody was really happy. Today I saw I'm in the lineup, and that's a dream come true for me and my family."
The Twins had little choice but to dip into their system once more after Rob Refsnyder exhibited concussion symptoms following his full-speed collision with the center field wall Monday. He went on the seven-day concussion list.
Celestino, considered the top defensive outfielder in the farm system, became the sixth different Twin to start in center this season.
"Cellie's an easy guy to pull for, the way he handles himself," Baldelli said. "He's a very cerebral, young guy. He carries himself kind of like an older individual. … I've always enjoyed watching him go."
"That makes me really happy. I appreciate that compliment coming from him," Celestino said.
Another CF option
Infielder Nick Gordon, who made his third career start Wednesday, began taking fly balls in center field this week, in order to help out if called upon. He is also a potential third baseman in a pinch, Baldelli said.