SEATTLE – Jhoan Duran played a role in a Mariners player breaking a bone on Wednesday. Amazingly, it wasn't the guy he hit with a fastball at 103 miles per hour.

No, Julio Rodriguez survived that scary pitch intact, and he was back in the lineup Thursday. But teammate Jarred Kelenic won't be playing for a while. The Seattle left fielder went on the injured list Thursday with Duran Derangement. That, and a broken left foot.

Kelenic battled Duran through an impressive nine-pitch at-bat during the ninth inning Wednesday, fouling off five pitches, four of which were clocked at 102.8 mph or faster. The ninth pitch, however, was an 89.6 mph curveball which broke over the outside corner. Enraged by the strikeout, Kelenic stalked back to the dugout and kicked a large cooler holding the team's water bottles.

X-rays Thursday morning revealed a fracture in his foot.

Such are the emotions stirred by trying to hit against Duran, whose fastball reached another new level in a 6-3 victory. The Twins closer threw the fastest pitch in the majors one batter after Kelenic's strikeout, a 104.8-mph fastball that Eugenio Suarez hit on two hops to shortstop Carlos Correa for an out.

That was one of four pitches registering 104 mph or faster that Duran threw in picking up his 16th save. The second-year righthander has thrown nine such pitches this season; the only other major leaguer to throw even one this year is Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks.

"He throws hard and he's throwing harder. I don't really know where it finishes up, what the hardest pitch of his career is, whenever that comes. He's somehow finding ways to throw harder and harder," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He just threw three [days] in a row a few days ago, and he's back three days later throwing, what, 104.8? He was throwing 102 a little while ago, and we were [amazed by] that. Is he going to throw 106? I wouldn't think so, because I don't know if it's humanly possible."

Duran isn't so sure. The fastest pitch ever recorded by MLB's Statcast system was an Aroldis Chapman fastball measured at 105.8 mph in 2010. Asked if he could ever reach that number, Duran shrugged.

"Maybe. I don't know," he said. "I throw to home plate as hard as I can. Something happens."

The adrenaline of pitching with the game at stake has something to do with it, he said. It wasn't a coincidence, he implied, that he threw harder after giving up a leadoff single and hitting Rodriguez in the arm, bringing the tying run to the plate with nobody out.

"For me, it's more energy because I've got more pressure situations," Duran said. "I don't like when the hitter got a base hit. I tried to strike out everybody. When I got in that situation, that's more energy for me."

Velocity has steadily climbed over the past decade as teams stack their bullpens with hard throwers. But Baldelli doesn't expect many pitchers to ever match Duran's fastball.

"I don't think what he's doing now will ever be normal, I really don't. Guys will continually find ways to throw harder, and I would guess that it'll still tick up from where baseball is right now," Baldelli said. "But I don't think what he's doing now will ever be normal. Fifty years from now, when people look back, he's going to be in the conversation as one of the hardest throwers in the game's history."

Keuchel deadline

Dallas Keuchel has the right to terminate his minor league contract and become a free agent if the Twins don't promote the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner to the major leagues by Friday, a source with knowledge of the contract confirmed.

Keuchel has given up only two earned runs over 20 innings in four starts for the Class AAA Saints, a 0.90 ERA with 17 strikeouts and eight walks. The 35-year-old lefthander is currently listed by the Saints as their probable starting pitcher Saturday at Omaha.

Baldelli declined to comment on the team's plans, but said the Twins plan to stay on rotation this weekend, with Joe Ryan, Sonny Gray and Bailey Ober starting against the White Sox at Target Field.


Byron Buxton returned to the Twins lineup Thursday after two days off and batted fifth, the lowest spot he's occupied in a starting lineup since April 7, 2021. Baldelli said there is no particular reason for moving him down, aside for his 0-for-22 slump entering the game, and he doesn't know whether he'll stay in that spot. Buxton went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Griffin Jax was the Twins' pitcher of record when they took the lead for good Wednesday, and was originally credited with the victory. But official scorer Eric Radovich, noting that Jax had given up Suárez's tying home run, used his discretion to make a change. Emilio Pagán, who followed Jax and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, was credited with his fourth victory.

Anthony Bechtold hit a two-run homer in a four-run seventh, Trevor Larnach also homered and the Saints held on for a 6-5 victory at Omaha. The Saints' Patrick Murphy gave up two runs in the ninth inning but struck out Nate Eaton with two runners on to end the game.