The Twins have placed right-hander Kenta Maeda on the 10-day injured list due to a groin strain, manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters today. Infielder Nick Gordon will be called up from Triple-A to take Maeda’s place on the active roster.
Maeda’s groin problem has been a recurring issue for his last couple of starts, and his attempt to pitch through the injury wasn’t terribly successful, though he did manage to toss five innings on 73 pitches in a start against the Indians yesterday (Maeda allowed three runs on three hits and a walk). However, groin tightness led Maeda to be removed from the game after those five innings, and an IL stint seems necessary for him to properly recover.
After finishing second in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2020, Maeda’s second season with the Twins hasn’t gone nearly as smoothly. Maeda has a 5.27 ERA/4.13 SIERA in 42 2/3 innings, and his Statcast numbers are more or less down across the board from 2020. Most notably, Maeda’s strikeout percentage is only 20.5%, a big dropoff from his career norms, let alone his career-best 32.3% strikeout rate in 2020.
Maeda’s struggles are one of the many reasons why Minnesota is off to a nightmare of a 16-29 start. The Twins rotation was already thinned out with Michael Pineda on the injured list, so Lewis Thorpe or Bailey Ober are probably the likeliest candidates to step into Maeda’s spot. Since Maeda only just pitched yesterday and the Twins have an off-day on Thursday, it’s possible a fill-in fifth starter might only be needed for one start should Maeda be able to return in the minimum 10 days or slightly beyond.