Jake Odorizzi has been sick the past few days. On Sunday, the Twins righthander held the White Sox to one hit and one walk while striking out nine.
Max Kepler also has been under the weather. He started Sunday and hit a home run for his third consecutive game.
The Twins should hide the antibiotics if players are going to produce despite being sick.
“Sometimes you see some of the best performers play at their best when they’re sick,” Kepler said after the Twins’ 7-0 victory. “Michael Jordan, when he was sick in that playoff game. I don’t know what it is. Maybe just calmer. I don’t know.”
When asked if he was touting himself as baseball’s version of the NBA legend, Kepler laughed and said: “No, no, no. No, no. I did not say that.”
Teams have to overcome illness as well as injuries during the season. Odorizzi and Kepler are the latest examples of players being able to focus enough to contribute.
Odorizzi battled through some lengthy at-bats that pushed his pitch count into the high 80s by the end of the fifth inning. He got the first out of the sixth inning when manager Rocco Baldelli didn’t want to push things any further.
“When you haven’t been very much in [warm] weather like that and you’re not feeling well, I think that combination kind of led us to make sure we kept an eye out,” Baldelli said.
Odorizzi improved to 7-2, matching his victory total for all of 2018. He said his past two innings were his toughest.
“I was having trouble just getting a deep breath and then felt like I was choking afterwards because of all the drainage going on,” Odorizzi said. “It’s been like this way for a few days, so I think I’m on the [downhill] part of it.”
Kepler on a roll
Kepler said he started to get sick when the Twins were in California last week to play the Angels. He also banged his knee against the wall there, but he missed only one game, sitting out Saturday after serving as the designated hitter Friday.
He was 2-for-4 on Sunday, with a three-run homer in the seventh inning that put the game away. And he is batting .471 during an eight-game hitting streak — a streak that started after he took high-velocity batting practice to smooth out his swing.
“It always helps,” he said. “I feel like if you see high-velo off a machine … I get into the tendency of swinging too hard, so just seeing that and getting like kind of a hit-and-run swing on balls simplifies my swing and I make better contact, as opposed to swinging out of my shoes and fouling a lot of balls off.”
Happy for kid Cron
C.J. Cron was thrilled for his younger brother, fellow first baseman Kevin, who was called up by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday and made his major league debut that night.
Kevin Cron then got his first major league hit in the fifth inning Saturday, a double to left against San Francisco.
“I know he’s super excited,” C.J. Cron said. “He’s been waiting for this moment his whole life, as I have and our whole family, so to see him get the call-up was pretty cool.”
Kevin Cron, 26, was leading the minors with 21 home runs at the time of the promotion.
• Catcher Mitch Garver did some light running Sunday while he recovers from a high left ankle sprain. There is still a chance he will try to run the bases Monday or Tuesday, then get sent out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
• Righthanded reliever Austin Adams, who was designated for assignment by the Twins on Friday, was claimed off waivers by Detroit. He gave up five earned runs in 2 ⅔ innings with the Twins.