Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and his coaching staff plot out starting lineups several days in advance and make adjustments when needed. And players usually are messaged the next day’s starting lineup in the hours following the previous game.
So Jonathan Schoop will know before his head hits his pillow if he’s not playing.
“Honestly, sometimes I don’t look at it before I go to sleep,” Schoop said. “Sometimes you see it and go, ‘Dang, I’m not in there.’ ” But I try to prepare myself every day I’m in there.”
Health at other infield positions and the rise of Luis Arraez has led to a drop in playing time for Schoop, who entered Friday batting .254 with 17 home runs and 56 RBI. He has started only six of 21 games this month as the Twins give more at-bats to rookie Arraez, who was batting .341. With Tigers righthander Drew VerHagen on the mound Friday, Arraez got the start at second.
Schoop is largely a second baseman, with 17 career games at third and 22 at short, so lack of versatility might be hurting him.
Baldelli already is platooning the catching position, moving Marwin Gonzalez around the field and looking for at-bats for Ehire Adrianza, whose hitting has improved this season. A number of players could respond angrily to him once the lineups are sent out, but Baldelli said Schoop has handled the situation well.
“Is it easy not getting the at-bats that you are used to getting and that you want? No.” Baldelli said. “There is nothing easy about that. But he’s able to compartmentalize that part of it and prepare for the games that he is playing in but still be the same person every day when he shows up. It takes a lot of professionalism and it takes special guys to be able to deal with situations like that.”
On Friday, Schoop joked around with Gonzalez, who dresses next to him, like he does every day before getting pregame work in.
“It’s where you just come in and prepare yourself,” Schoop said. “Do whatever you’ve got to do to stay ready for when your name is called and contribute to the team.”
Big step for Buxton
Byron Buxton is expected to head out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment in the coming days. He suffered a strained left shoulder on Aug. 1 when he crashed into an outfield fence in Miami.
Buxton took the field for early hitting Friday, then fielded fly balls and ran the bases. His workout was supervised by head trainer Tony Leo and strength and conditioning director Ian Kadish.
Hitting coach James Rowson worked with Buxton in the batting cage and was very pleased with how he was swinging.
All systems appear to be go for Buxton to take the next step in his road back to the lineup. The Twins hope Buxton can rejoin the team in time for the start of their road series in Detroit next Friday.
“Buck’s doing really well,” Baldelli said. “He’s pretty much able to take part in everything we would want him to do. He took part in everything, felt good.”
Baldelli said outfielder Eddie Rosario, who left Wednesday’s game with a sore hamstring, underwent an MRI exam after the injury and it came back negative. Rosario was not in the starting lineup Friday but could return before the series ends.
“I think so,” said Rosario, who was relieved the MRI came back clean. “It’s their decision. I think I’m 100 percent. I think I’m going to be in there.”
Gil Lansdale, a retired sales representative for the Twins who moved with the franchise from Washington, D.C., died Wednesday. He was 93.