3:40pm: It seems like the worst-case scenario has been avoided, as Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com reports that the X-rays showed no breaks and that Maeda is walking around without the ankle even being wrapped up.
2:46pm: Twins righty Kenta Maeda departed today’s game after two innings upon being struck on the ankle by a comeback line drive off the bat of Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran. Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that he’s undergoing x-rays.
Maeda was able to compose himself and remain upright long enough to gather the ball, make the throw to first base and record an out, but he dropped immediately after making the play. Twins trainers tended to Maeda thereafter, and he was eventually able to walk off the field with minimal assistance (video link).
The 35-year-old Maeda was making just his third start in his return from 2021 surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He’s been mostly sharp, posting a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings with a terrific 13-to-1 K/BB ratio (23.1 K%, 1.9 BB%). His fastball hasn’t quite been back to where it was in his Cy Young runner-up showing back in 2020 — sitting 91.8 mph then versus 90.4 mph now — but Maeda’s command has been strong.
Maeda’s start against the Red Sox came after just two innings today, which will leave a relatively taxed Twins bullpen to cover quite a bit of work. Long reliever Brent Headrick is unavailable after picking up a three-inning save in last night’s MLB debut, and the Twins used five relievers in an extra-inning affair the night prior. Emilio Pagan came on in relief of Maeda and immediately served up six runs on seven hits in his first frame, so Minnesota is surely reluctant to allocate many (or any) innings today to leverage relievers at this point. A position player could well end up taking some lumps on the mound today at some point.
If Maeda needs to miss any time, the Twins have a handful of already MLB-tested options in Triple-A St. Paul, led by right-hander Bailey Ober. He’s pitched to a 3.82 ERA in 31 starts for Minnesota over the past two seasons and is out to a strong start with the Saints in Triple-A this year, logging a 2.55 ERA through four starts. Other options include right-hander Louie Varland, who made a spot start for Maeda last week when the Twins skipped him in the rotation to afford him some early extra rest, and righty Simeon Woods Richardson, who made his MLB debut late in the 2022 season.
Maeda will be blessed to make it through the season and sign with a good team next year.
Twins don’t really know the extent of the injury as the trainer said “Maeda couldn’t talus exactly was hurting”
i see what you did there… haha
Hopefully just a nasty bruise and he’s able to return for his next start or just miss one. Bummer for a guy who is pitching well in a contract year and is known for being super nice.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Coulda , madea, woulda, ugh
Ober would be in a lot of MLB starting rotations.
You sure you ain’t Oberrating him?
Bailey Ober’s been highly injury prone across his career so I’m not sure he can handle a full starter’s workload, but I could see him being in a lot of teams’ rotations until that question can be answered.
Nice play after getting hit like that. Kind of reminded me of when football players hang on to ball after taking a big hit despite the pain
OMG, why the hell is Pagan not DFAd 6 runs in one inning, jeesh… they could put a position player in and he would have done better. Especially with Ober and Varland (even though they are starters) so just about any AAA reliever could be brought up and be better.
Because in his first 5 appearances he yielded 1 run in 6.1 innings. He’s been pretty good in 2023.
I’m honestly surprised that nothing is broken/fractured
EVEN Pagan himself knows he’s 1 more outing like that away from either being demoted to aaa or DFA’d
Absolutely no way in hell that he’d accept an assignment to AAA. It’s active roster or DFA for him.
Somebody out there likes him.
I thought all the pagan worshipers were gone long ago.
Worth noting – despite collapsing in a heap, Maeda threw out Duran on that play.
Glad Maeda’s injury isn’t more serious. Pagan needs to go. Time to bring over some arms from St. Paul.
I think he did a fine job.
A RS fan.