TORONTO – Only the Twins could go from having three capable catchers at the beginning of the season to one Tuesday.
Jason Castro is nursing a sore right elbow after being hit by a pitch Monday. The Twins planned to give him Tuesday off to let it heal. Willians Astudillo, on the injured list because of a sore right hamstring, ran on the field and worked on defensive drills before the game. The earliest he could be activated is Wednesday.
That left the Twins down to one catcher for Tuesday’s game. Mitch Garver did his part in the 3-0 victory over the Blue Jays, starting behind the plate and going 3-for-3 with two RBI on his seventh home run in the sixth inning.
But in a pinch, they could have used first baseman C.J. Cron.
“I’ve been emergency backup six or seven times in my career,” Cron said. “Those days, I like to catch a bullpen just in case the crazy scenario comes up, but yeah, every once in a while, I guess.”
How’s your pitch framing?
“That’s all I know how to do,” Cron said.
Cron said he was a catcher while playing at the University of Utah, but moved to first base when he was drafted by the Angels in 2011, mostly because of a shoulder issue. He borrowed some extra catcher’s gear and a glove from Nate Dammann, the team’s former bullpen catcher turned replay assistant. And he caught Jake Odorizzi’s bullpen session Tuesday to polish up some rusty skills.
“He was a pro,” Odorizzi said.
Astudillo said his pregame workout went well, raising the possibility he will be activated in time for Wednesday’s game. If so, the Twins will have to make a roster move to make room for him.
That could be interesting, because relievers Matt Magill and Mike Morin and infielder Ehire Adrianza are among players who are out of options.
Perhaps the Twins will get assurances that Castro can at least play in an emergency and delay the decision until Friday, when they open a four-games-in-three-days series against Detroit at Target Field.
There’s a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday, so the Twins will be able to call up a 26th player for the second game.
You never forget your first
Good friends stick together, go out together — and get thrown out together.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo are close friends from their time working for the Tampa Bay Rays. How close?
Montoyo went for a 3-mile run Monday around downtown Toronto. Toward the end of his run, he spotted Baldelli warming up for his own run. Montoyo joined Baldelli and kept him company during his 2-mile run.
That evening, Montoyo was ejected in the fifth inning by home plate umpire Adam Hamari for arguing balls and strikes, the first ejection of his major league career. Baldelli earned his first career ejection April 15 — against the Blue Jays — for arguing that Cron was hit by a pitch.
So each manager was present for the other’s first ejection.
“Yeah, we talked about it,” Baldelli said. “We went and got ramen [Tuesday]. I got to hear a little bit about it. He’s doing fine. I’m glad that we were able to witness each other’s first.”
• In support of the Major League Baseball’s “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” initiative, the Twins have selected Monica Theis of Robbinsdale to be an honorary bat girl during Sunday’s game against the Tigers. All 30 teams will select honorary bat girls to help raise awareness and financial support to fight breast cancer. Theis has had multiple battles with cancer since 1992.