The Twins are placing right-hander Chris Archer on the 15-day injured list due to a pectoral injury, per Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com. Fellow righty Jharel Cotton will have his contract selected to take Archer’s place on the active roster. The club already had a vacancy on their 40-man roster.
Archer, 33, started yesterday’s game but was removed after two innings and 40 pitches due to this pec issue. Park relays that Archer is confident he can return after the 15-day minimum, though it’s still a noteworthy development for the club. With just over three weeks remaining in the season, even a minimum stay on the IL will keep Archer out of action until there’s only about a week remaining.
With Tyler Mahle also landing on the IL about a week ago, the club’s rotation has taken a couple of blows at a crucial time of the year. The Twins are 3 1/2 games behind the Guardians in the AL Central race, with the White Sox in between. Minnesota will be trying to play catch-up in the home stretch with a diminished pitching staff. Josh Winder was recalled today and will take a spot in the rotation next to Dylan Bundy, Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. That four-man crew will need reinforcements as the club has an off-day on Monday before embarking on a stretch of 14 games in 13 days, with a doubleheader on September 17.
Archer is taking on a significant workload for the first time since 2019, as he missed the 2020 season entirely and only logged 19 1/3 innings last year. Through 102 2/3 frames this season, he has a 4.56 ERA, though his 19.2% strikeout rate and 11% walk rate are both career worsts. He’s likely returning to free agency this winter, as his deal with the Twins has a mutual option for 2023, with those rarely being executed by both sides.
Cotton, 30, has already been designated for assignment by the Twins three times this year, each time accepting an outright assignment to St. Paul and getting selected back to the roster later. He’s pitched well when called upon, registering a 2.83 ERA in 35 big league innings on the year. A .182 BABIP and 89.7% strand rate are likely putting a little shine on that, however, with advanced metrics like FIP and xFIP pushing over 5.00.