Twins closer Glen Perkins walked slowly through the clubhouse Thursday and took his time as he lowered himself into a chair in front of his stall.
He has a strained back and muscle spasms — and is sore about being sidelined during a postseason drive.
“I irritated something,” Perkins said, “and my back is ticked off.”
A magnetic resonance imaging exam showed his back is structurally sound, but he remains in discomfort and will stay in the Twin Cities for treatment as the Twins head out on a road trip to Houston, Kansas City and Chicago. It’s the second time in two weeks Perkins has battled back problems. This time, the spasms have to subside before trainers deal with the strain.
“When I woke up [Wednesday], I couldn’t get out of bed,” Perkins said. “It completely blindsided me. It’s going to take a little bit more time than last time.”
Kevin Jepsen, who has saved five games since joining the Twins on July 31, will be the closer for now. Trevor May likely will be the eighth-inning specialist, although manager Paul Molitor said others could be options based on matchups and workload.
Club officials hope Perkins responds well to a few days of treatment and can join the club during the road trip. It’s a significant concern for a club trying to reach the postseason.
“There’s a chance that this could be something that lingers and have some good days and some bad days from here on out,” Molitor said. “It’s one of those things that until he gets a little extended rest, it could be lingering.”
Miguel Sano was not in the lineup Thursday, because Molitor wanted to rest the rookie’s balky right hamstring. Molitor did not like the sight of Sano jogging to first on a grounder Wednesday.
But the Twins are in a tight spot. They need Sano, who has been a force in the middle of the batting order and was AL rookie of the month in August, but they can’t risk him blowing out his hamstring and missing an extended amount of time. Sano was used as a pinch hitter Thursday, flying out to right with a man on in the eighth inning.
“No way to measure how much 40 hours will help,” Molitor said. “What I do know is that every time he runs, I hold my breath. It’s not like he has pain in his knee or his foot and it’s just going to be there. It’s a muscle. If it tears or pops, you are going to be disabled.”
• The Twins are mailing out postseason ticket information this week to their season-ticket holders. Those fans will be allowed to purchase postseason packages starting next week. The general public will be able to purchase tickets later this month.
• Phil Hughes threw a five-minute bullpen session and felt good. It was his first time on a mound since Aug. 9, when he left a game in Cleveland because of a sore back. He received an epidural injection, but it has taken longer him than expected to recover. Now he’s building up arm strength to return to the rotation. After a few bullpen sessions, Hughes will face live hitters during simulated games and could also face hitters during the Twins instructional league in Florida. Players report there Sept. 16.
• Ricky Nolasco, who had right ankle surgery July 14, will throw in the bullpen Monday. He won’t pitch again in the regular season but could become an option if the Twins play deep into October.
• Eduardo Escobar scored on Eddie Rosario’s grand slam in the third inning. It marked the 12th consecutive game Escobar has scored a run, tying Rich Rollins (1964) for the third-longest such streak in club history. Kirby Puckett scored in 14 games in a row in 1986, and Orlando Cabrera did it in 13 consecutive games in 2009.