Nelson Cruz felt a lot better Saturday than he did Friday, when he tweaked his left wrist while taking a swing during the game against Cleveland.

“It was pain, yeah,” said the Twins designated hitter, who ruptured the tendon in the wrist last month but has been able to play. “But I think it was inflammation more than anything. I got a lot of treatment [Friday] night.”

Cruz’s plan was to take some swings before Saturday’s game, then take his usual spot in the starting lineup. Manager Rocco Baldelli, however, had other ideas: “In basketball, it would be a coach’s decision,” he said.

Since Cruz aggravated the wrist the night before, Baldelli was hesitant to put him back in the lineup. He said Cruz could pinch hit, but he was more interested in giving him a break.

“He said he was good to play,” Baldelli said. “He wasn’t overly comfortable last night swinging the bat. He’s going to get treated and spend some time in the training room, making sure he lets this calm down a little bit.”

Miguel Sano was the designated hitter Saturday while Jorge Polanco batted in Cruz’s No. 3 spot in the lineup.

Cruz was placed on the injured last on Aug. 9 after experiencing pain in the wrist taking a swing. As it turned out, he ruptured a tendon in the wrist but is able to play with the condition, which is similar to what former Twins star Justin Morneau went through. Cruz thinks the discomfort Friday stems from scar tissue in the wrist breaking up.

Even if the Twins wanted to use Cruz on Saturday, he was ejected in the sixth inning complaining about plate umpire Laz Diaz’s questionable called strike three on C.J. Cron.

Cave out as well

Outfielder Jake Cave has officially been diagnosed with a mild left groin strain after undergoing tests Saturday.

Cave was injured Friday when he ran out a single in the fifth inning. He immediately felt some discomfort, so he eased his way to first instead of risking a more serious strain.

“I like to play the game a certain way, and my first few steps out of the box, it just felt a little uncomfortable,” Cave said. “I think if I would have gone as hard as I normally go, things might have been a little worse.”

Unlike Cruz, Cave was not available Saturday; Luis Arraez started in left field with Max Kepler in center and Eddie Rosario in right. “We’ll wait and see,” Baldelli said of Cave. “… It is relatively mild but still something he’s not going to play with right now.”

Byron Buxton remains unable to swing a bat because of his shoulder. Marwin Gonzalez, out because of an abdominal strain, can only takes swings off soft toss throws. That left rookies LaMonte Wade Jr. and Ian Miller as the Twins’ outfield options on the bench.


• Mitch Garver has hit 28 home runs, all as a catcher, passing Earl Battey’s 26 in 1963 for the most hit by a Twins catcher in a single season. Might you be wondering about Joe Mauer in his 2009 AL MVP season? Of his 28 homers, he hit 23 as a catcher, four as a designated hitter and one as a pinch hitter.

• Twins righthander Sergio Romo hobbled off the field after striking out Franmil Reyes to end the eighth inning. After the game, the said he was fine; he wears a brace on his left knee, and occasionally he tweaks it.

• In addition to other injures, the Twins have been without utilityman Ehire Adrianza, who has been under the weather the past few days. He has been available only as a last resort.