The Twins announced that they have placed right-hander Sonny Gray on the 15-day injured list due to a right hamstring strain. His roster spot will go to fellow righty Trevor Megill, who has been reinstated from the COVID IL. Additionally, righty Dereck Rodriguez, who was designated for assignment on the weekend, has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A.
Gray, 32, started yesterday’s game against the Guardians but was pulled after throwing just 44 pitches in two innings. Though Gray could technically return on the last day of the season, October 5, it’s quite likely that this will conclude his 2022 campaign.
Acquired from the Reds in a March trade, Gray was very good when healthy enough to take the mound. He made two other trips to the IL, one for a hamstring strain in April and another for a pectoral strain in June. Around those injuries, he made 24 starts and threw 119 2/3 innings with a 3.08 ERA, 24% strikeout rate, 7.4% walk rate and 44.5% ground ball rate.
That has sort of been the story for the Twins as a whole as well, as they seemed to be the best team in the AL Central for much of the year until mounting injuries dragged them down. They had a lead as big as 5.5 games in late May, but have since slid down to third place, seven games back of the Guardians and three behind the White Sox. Given that their postseason chances are effectively gone at this point, it makes logical sense to let Gray put his feet up for the next little bit as opposed to taking a chance on making his injury worse. Gray joins 17 of his teammates on the IL, bringing the club’s total to 18.
Minnesota’s rotation is now left with Joe Ryan, Dylan Bundy, Bailey Ober and Josh Winder, leaving one spot to be filled. It’s possible that rookie Ronny Henriquez, who threw 73 pitches after Gray’s departure yesterday, could just step in, though that remains to be seen.
Gray is in the final guaranteed season of the extension he signed with the Reds back in 2019, though there’s a $13.1MM club option for 2023. That’s a bargain price for a pitcher of Gray’s caliber, making it a fairly easy decision for the Twins to exercise it and bring him back for 2023.