MILWAUKEE – Nelson Cruz’s left forearm was packed in ice Tuesday afternoon in the Twins’ clubhouse. Of course it was — there’s a tendon inside that arm that has torn away from where it used to be attached to his wrist.
Far less surprising than the ice treatment was what Cruz was doing with that injured arm just 10 minutes earlier. He was hitting a baseball.
“Honestly, to me, it’s like a miracle,” Cruz said. “The doctor explained it to me, but it still seems a little weird, you know? It’s hard to describe.”
The doctor, hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told Cruz on Monday that the ruptured tendon only needs to be surgically reattached if it causes him pain. And this injury has done the opposite.
“It actually feels a lot stronger, because before there was pain when I swung,” said Cruz, happy to avoid surgery. “If there’s no pain, it makes me even stronger.”
He proved it by hitting in a batting cage on Tuesday, and discovered two things still must happen. The inflammation in his forearm must calm down — that was the reason for the ice — and he must wrap his mind around the idea that he’s pain-free.
“Even today, when I was swinging, I expected to feel the pain. So I have to get used to that,” Cruz said. “My hand felt like — I can’t explain it, but the more days that go by, the more normal it feels.”
His plan is to test it again a few times during this road trip, and do wrist-strengthening exercises, with the expectation of being activated when he’s eligible next Monday. “I hope so,” said Cruz, who is batting .294 with a team-high 32 home runs this year. “I want to play. I want to help this team.”
Whatever soreness Sam Dyson was feeling when he arrived to join the Twins has subsided, so the righthanded reliever — the Twins’ most prominent trade-deadline addition to their bullpen — was activated on Tuesday.
Rookie righthander Cody Stashak, who has allowed five runs in 8⅓ innings over six appearances, was optioned back to Class AAA Rochester.
Dyson, placed on the injured list after making two disastrous appearances for the Twins, admitted he was pitching in pain and had been for some time.
Ten days on the injured list have made a big difference, the 31-year-old reliever said. His arm “feels a lot better than it has in some time,” Dyson said.
That may be as big a relief to Twins manager Rocco Baldelli as to Dyson, who was acquired from the Giants to shore up an often-shaky bullpen.
“He’s a guy who’s going to kind of grit his teeth and go out there and pitch, even when he’s not feeling great,” Baldelli said of Dyson, who allowed six runs, six hits and two walks to the first 10 batters he faced as a Twin. “I’m just happy to watch him go pain-free and see what he can do.”
Dyson pitched a perfect eighth inning Tuesday after the Twins had retaken the lead.
Bremer gets day off
Dick Bremer was musing Tuesday about what he might do Wednesday afternoon. “I’m thinking about sitting in the right-field stands, having a couple hot dogs and watching a ballgame,” he said.
The Twins’ longtime play-by-play man won’t be behind a microphone, because Fox Sports North won’t be broadcasting the game. The Twins-Brewers finale will be available online only, carried by YouTube as its Game of the Week. It’s part of MLB’s contract with the video-streaming company, which grants exclusive rights to YouTube for 13 games this season.
Justin Morneau and former Brewers pitcher Dan Plesac will serve as analysts for the game, with play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz.