The Twins placed outfielder Jordan Schafer on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee Saturday.
Outfielder Shane Robinson, who has missed four games after going on the family emergency list, was reinstated in time to be available for Saturday’s game.
Schafer has been bothered by the knee for the past few weeks but insisted he could play through it. That changed in recent days, leading to the move.
“Schafer’s right knee issue has lingered,’’ manager Paul Molitor said. “We thought initially that he would be able to play through it and hopefully see improvement. We haven’t seen that.’’
Schafer is batting .217 with no homers and five RBI in 27 games. He has been thrown out all three times he has tried to steal a base, which is alarming. He stole 30 bases in 37 attempts between the Twins and Braves last season, an indication of how much his knee was affecting him.
“That knee wasn’t getting any better,’’ General Manager Terry Ryan said.
The Twins are hopeful rehabilitation will be all that Schafer needs.
Robinson is batting .315 with seven RBI in 22 games as a platoon player with Schafer in center field or late-inning defensive replacement. That platoon remains an option for Molitor, since the switch-hitting Aaron Hicks was called up last week.
But the Twins might decide to give Hicks the majority of the work in center.
Phil Hughes and Kevin Cash were teammates with the Yankees in 2009. Now Hughes can look across the diamond and see his former catcher as the new manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s made me feel old,’’ Hughes said. “If I saw him this series I was going to tell him that. It makes me feel old that I’m playing against a manager I was a teammate with.’’
Cash has the Rays playing better than most expected. The starting pitching remains competitive despite injuries and the departures of David Price and James Shields in recent years.
Tampa Bay’s early success isn’t surprising to Hughes.
“When I saw he had the opportunity to get that job this winter, I was excited for him,’’ Hughes said. “He’s a smart baseball guy.’’
Don’t be easy out
Outfielder Eddie Rosario was a late-inning defensive replacement Friday, coming through with a double in the eighth inning to break a 0-for-12 skid that included seven strikeouts.
Rosario was somewhat of a bad-ball hitter in the minors, and he’s learning that approach can get him in trouble in the majors.
“I have watched him play and a lot of at-bats in the minor leagues,’’ Molitor said, “and I haven’t seen him swing and miss as much as he has here, particularly of late. He might be searching as to what approach is going to work for him up here.’’
Molitor pointed out how exciting it was for Rosario to hit the first pitch thrown to him for a home run May 6, but moments like that can work against a hitter.
“You don’t want to begin to acquire a label in the opposing team’s scouting report that says you don’t have to throw this guy a strike to get him out,’’ Molitor said. “I think he just has to slow down.’’
Rosario was 1-for-3 on Saturday and drove in the Twins’ first run of the game with a second-inning single.
• Righthander Casey Fien (shoulder) will throw an eight-minute bullpen session Sunday, then the Twins will decide if he needs another session or if he’s ready for a rehab assignment.
• Infielder Eduardo Nunez (left oblique) hit on the field before the game and likely will embark on a rehabilitation assignment in the next few days.