The Twins announced that they’ve placed left fielder Eddie Rosario on the injured list prior to tonight’s series opener against the White Sox in Chicago. Utility infielder Ehire Adrianza has been activated from the IL in a corresponding move. Minnesota also optioned righty Zack Littell to Triple-A and promoted lefty Lewis Thorpe for his MLB debut.
Rosario exited Wednesday’s game after spraining his ankle while rounding first base. After the game, manager Rocco Baldelli indicated that the injury wasn’t believed to be severe. That may very well still be the case, but the issue is apparently enough to push Rosario, an All-Star hopeful, to the sideline for at least the next nine days.
Rosario, 27, has already belted 20 homers on the season while frequently serving as the Twins’ cleanup hitter. He’s batting .282/.312/.529 through 324 plate appearances and has added 14 doubles and a triple to go along with those 20 long balls. He’s also played above-average defense in left field according to both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating.
The Twins have had a series of injuries in the outfield recently, as Byron Buxton and utilitymen Marwin Gonzalez and Willians Astudillo (both capable of playing in the outfield) have all landed on the IL. Buxton is reportedly close to returning from the IL, but the Twins are presently relying on Max Kepler, Jake Cave and infielder Luis Arraez in the outfield. Minnesota called up outfield prospect Lamonte Wade Jr. yesterday to help out in the short term, and designated hitter Nelson Cruz is of course no stranger to the outfield corners (although the Twins have yet to play him in the field). A healthy Minnesota outfield is among the best defensive units in the game, but it’ll apparently be a bit before Twins fans see Rosario, Buxton and Kepler roving the outfield.
As for Thorpe, the 23-year-old Aussie will add some length to a pitching staff that was depleted in yesterday’s 18-inning marathon. Thorpe, signed as an international free agent back in 2013, has long been considered one of the Twins’ most promising young arms. He cracked Baseball Prospectus’ Top 101 prospects in 2014 (No. 101) and in 2015 (No. 91). He entered the year ranked ninth among Twins prospects at MLB.co and 15th at Fangraphs.
Thorpe’s development was slowed when he missed all of the 2015-16 seasons due to elbow troubles that culminated in Tommy John surgery. He enjoyed a strong season between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, pitching to a combined 3.54 ERA with 10.9 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 in 129 2/3 innings of work. He’s been knocked around for a 5.71 ERA through 69 1/3 innings thus far in 2019 thanks to a bloated home-run rate (1.48 HR/9) and some poor fortune on balls in play (.348). Thorpe’s K/BB numbers remain excellent, as he’s averaged 11.4 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. He’s also pitched considerably better since an awful start to the year. After surrendering 15 runs in his first two outings, he’s notched a 4.30 ERA with A 79-to-14 K/BB ratio in 60 2/3 innings.