KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Robbie Grossman’s left thumb is definitely still fractured, he said Friday, so painful when he tries to pinch his thumb and forefinger together that he can’t insert or remove his contact lenses with his left hand anymore.
“That’s not easy,” Grossman said. He also can’t wrap it around a baseball, and he estimates “it’ll be at least a couple of weeks before I can grip a ball well enough” to throw it from the outfield.
Too bad for Grossman, huh? With an injury like that limiting his usefulness, all he’s been able to do lately is smash a couple of home runs, clobber a pair of doubles, walk a couple of times — including in the middle of the Twins’ ninth-inning rally Thursday — and score five runs.
Guess it’ll have to do.
“From the first day he was in there, he looked like he hadn’t missed any time. The very first at-bat, he squared one up and lined out,” Twins manager Paul Molitor marveled of his play-with-pain designated hitter. “He’s still taking pitches, working counts, like we saw in his last at-bat [Thursday], which was a big part of the final outcome.”
In fact, Grossman said, his seven-pitch walk against Kelvin Herrera to load the bases on Thursday made him more proud than the home run he hit four innings earlier. “It’s not as sexy, I didn’t hit a home run, but I got on base and kept the line moving,” Grossman said. “That’s how you keep a rally going.”
Hitting lefthanded is nearly pain-free now, three weeks after his outfield collision with Byron Buxton that broke the tip of his thumb, Grossman said, but batting righthanded is harder. But the time off, plus some work in the batting cages last weekend with Rochester hitting coach Chad Allen, “has my swing back to what it was at the beginning of the year. It really helped,” Grossman said. “I can tolerate the pain. I just want to help the team as much as I’m able.”
Into the storm
While much of Florida is evacuating, James Rowson left the Twins Friday and headed into Hurricane Irma’s path.
The Twins hitting coach’s wife, three children, parents and sister all live in the Tampa area, and Rowson decided he couldn’t allow them to ride out the impending storm without him, General Manager Thad Levine said Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
“We are of course extremely supportive of guys doing whatever they need to do to keep everyone safe in an emergency like this,” Levine said. Rowson plans to rejoin the team next week at Target Field, but that naturally depends upon the damage that Florida sustains this weekend.
With first-base coach Jeff Smith’s wife and two sons also remaining in Florida — Ronna Smith is principal of a Naples middle school and is overseeing its use as a storm shelter this weekend — Molitor said the Twins will be watching a lot of weather reports this weekend.
• Hector Santiago’s season is probably finished, Molitor said, because the discomfort he’s felt in his back, neck and upper shoulder still hasn’t disappeared. Santiago is in Minnesota after a disappointing rehab start Sunday, and “it’s looking more unlikely than likely” that he could pitch again in 2017.
• Miguel Sano was able to do some light running on Friday and hit in the batting cages at Target Field. If he’s not too sore on Saturday, he might take some ground balls and hit on the field, Molitor said.
• Kyle Gibson and Ervin Santana will start against the Padres next week, Molitor said, but the rotation beyond that has not been established. It may depend upon how lefthander Adalberto Mejia fares Saturday for Class AA Chattanooga; Mejia, scheduled to throw 75-80 pitches in a Southern League playoff game, could be slotted in Thursday against the Blue Jays, with Aaron Slegers moving to the bullpen, Molitor said.