NEW YORK – These aren’t the preferred circumstances, but top prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano finally will be in the same Twins lineup.
The Twins called up Buxton from Class AAA Rochester on Wednesday when they had to place Aaron Hicks on the 15-day disabled list because of a left hamstring strain.
Buxton himself was recently on the disabled list because of a sprained left thumb but has recovered and has been on a tear at Rochester. In 13 games, he batted .400 with three doubles, one triple, one home run, eight RBI and 11 runs scored. He was named the International League hitter of the week last week.
Buxton was first called up by the Twins on June 13 but injured his thumb June 25 and landed on the DL. Sano was called up on July 2. So their paths never have crossed as Twins. But that will change Thursday when the Twins open a three-game series at Baltimore.
Hicks was trying to beat out an infield hit Wednesday when he grabbed his hamstring and walked slowly off the field. It’s a blow to the Twins because Hicks had ascended to the leadoff spot while batting .268 with eight homers and 25 RBI.
“Running down the basepaths, I just felt pain,” Hicks said. “I went and talked to the trainers. My left hamstring is a little weak.”
Perkins gets injection
The Twins were waiting to learn the results of an MRI of Glen Perkins’ neck Wednesday. But Perkins still had a cortisone injection in the area and is going to join the team in Baltimore.
Perkins reported soreness after Monday’s loss to the Yankees and flew to the Twin Cities to be examined. He also had neck problems last year, which led to him being shut down in September.
Perkins had 28 saves and a 1.21 ERA at the All-Star break but has an 8.10 ERA since then with two blown saves.
It normally takes around three days for the injection to fully work, and indications are that Perkins will try to throw Saturday to see how his neck feels.
Jepsen to close
Until Perkins returns, the Twins likely will look to Kevin Jepsen to close games.
Jepsen has 10 career saves, five coming this season with Tampa Bay before he was traded to the Twins. After giving up two runs during his Twins debut on Aug. 2, Jepsen has thrown 7 ⅓ scoreless innings over eight appearances.
“I would think it would be Jepsen, someone I’m leaning a little bit more to just through his experience and how he is throwing the ball right now,” manager Paul Molitor said. “That could change from day to day depending on who is in the best shape.”
Day off for Torii
Torii Hunter did not play Wednesday as Molitor monitors his playing time. It has not been easy, because Molitor has played Hunter a little more than he intended to at this point of the season.
It’s hard to bench Hunter with the Twins at a critical junction of the season, but Molitor tries to keep the big picture in mind.
Then again, Hunter’s recent production doesn’t help his case. Over his past eight games, including seven starts, Hunter is 1-for-26, dropping his average from .249 to .235.
“At some point this fall I’ll have to look back on it and try to figure out if I overplayed that hand a little bit during the first half and that has been somewhat related to the second half,” Molitor said.
“Between our communication and our friendship, I think we have been transparent for the most part.”
The Yankees have hit eight grand slams against the Twins since 1998 — one each by Chuck Knoblauch, Ricky Ledee, Glenallen Hill, Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui and Alfonso Soriano and two by Alex Rodriguez, including one Tuesday.