CHICAGO – Righthander Jake Odorizzi will throw off a mound sometime this week, a sign that he’s recovering well from his intercostal strain.
Odorizzi was originally set to start on Saturday against the White Sox but came down with the strain after an intrasquad game and was placed on the injured list. He’s eligible to come off the IL on Thursday, when the Twins open a four-game series against Cleveland.
Jose Berrios will likely start Game 1 against the Indians, but Odorizzi could easily slide into the rotation on Friday or Saturday.
“Odo’s stretching out his throwing program again, and he will be on the mound early this week,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I’m not sure exactly which day it’s going to be. We’re probably going to end up playing it day to day just to pick the day and finalize that, but he should be out there throwing a bullpen very soon, and we’ll let him face some hitters, and then we will see him back out there.”
If Odorizzi needs more time, the Twins could give righthander Randy Dobnak another start. Dobnak gave up one earned run over four innings on Saturday.
Byron Buxton, coming back from a left mid-foot sprain, drove back to the Twin Cities on Saturday and worked out at CHS Field in St. Paul on Sunday. There is some hope Buxton could play on Tuesday in the home opener.
“I would say that there’s a good chance that he’s playing in the very near future,” Baldelli said. “Our home opener is definitely an option. When we get back home and we start playing baseball in Minneapolis, we plan on seeing Buck out there.”
Willians Astudillo, who has been sidelined by COVID-19, has recovered and has started working out with the other reserves in St. Paul.
Astudillo tested positive during the team’s intake program, the same time that Miguel Sano did. While Sano was asymptomatic, Astudillo’s path has been different, Baldelli said.
Astudillo, who can catch, play the corner infield spots and some outfield, is basically starting from scratch and will likely need a couple weeks of workouts before the Twins would consider adding him to the roster. A clubhouse favorite, he’ll likely be added as soon as the Twins feel he can contribute.
“There’s no time line for him at all right now,” Baldelli said. “We need to evaluate him first and see where we’re at and let him just get going. Because when he finally is healthy, we’re going to need him to catch, we’re going to need him to move around the field and be feeling good doing it.”
Rochester in play
With Toronto’s search for a temporary home bringing it back to where it began — Buffalo — the Blue Jays also needed a convenient place for 30-or-so reserves to work out and keep sharp.
That place will be Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y., home of the Twins’ Class AAA affiliate. The cities are about 75 miles about.
Lefthander Lewis Thorpe left Sunday’s game in the eighth inning with a contusion after taking a comebacker off his left leg. Baldelli said it didn’t appear to be serious.