X-rays were negative on Kenta Maeda’s left ankle after the Twins starter was hit by Jarren Duran line drive on Thursday, though it isn’t yet clear if Maeda will still require a stint on the 15-day injured list. The team is planning to push back Maeda’s next turn in the rotation, and reporters (including MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park) were told that more on Maeda’s condition will be known after he gets through a light throwing session today, and then a bullpen session on Monday.
Bailey Ober is being called up on Sunday for a spot start in Minnesota’s game with the Nationals, thus pushing back the rest of the Twins rotation and providing a bit more time for Maeda to recover. If Maeda is able to pitch, he’d take the mound at some point during the Twins’ four-game series with the Royals from April 27-30.
Maeda missed all of the 2022 season due to Tommy John surgery, and the results have been somewhat mixed in his first three starts back in action. Beyond the obvious negative of the ankle bruise, Maeda has been allowing a lot of hard contact, his 23.1% strikeout rate is barely above the league average, and his fastball velocity has dropped to 89.9 mph from his previous career average of 91.2mph (though velo has never been a big part of Maeda’s arsenal). On the plus side, he has a 4.15 ERA over 13 innings, with an elite-level chase rate and walk rate — the right-hander has issued just one walk to date this season.
In other injury news, Alex Kirilloff has yet to play this season, as the former star prospect opened the season on the 10-day IL while still recovering from his season-ending wrist surgery last August. Kirilloff is nearing the end of his 20-day minor league rehab assignment, but The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman reports that some team officials feel Kirilloff won’t immediately join the Twins’ big league roster once activated from the IL, as he instead could be optioned to Triple-A.
Kirilloff has played in only seven minor league games during his rehab assignment, and didn’t see any game action during Spring Training. As a result, the Twins might feel he simply needs more time to fully ramp up to face MLB pitching, even though Kirilloff has been hitting very well during his limited minor league at-bats. The returns of Jorge Polanco and Joey Gallo from the IL have helped bolster the Twins’ lineup, and in Gallo’s case specifically, he has been playing first base — ostensibly Kirilloff’s position when he eventually gets back to the Show. Since Minnesota has no glaring need in the lineup and naturally the team wants to be cautious with Kirilloff given his history of wrist problems, it could mean a more extended stint at Triple-A.
Speaking of injury histories, Byron Buxton has thankfully remained off the injured list thus far in 2023, which could be in part due to the Twins’ deployment of the outfielder has a full-time DH. Buxton has yet to play in the field this season, and manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters (including John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press) that he didn’t know when or necessarily even if Buxton would be back in the outfield. “I am enjoying the fact that I get to write his name in the lineup virtually every day right now. And at this point, I’m not going to do anything to jeopardize that, because I think that’s the most important thing,” Baldelli said.
For his part, Buxton admitted that “I wouldn’t say comfortable” about the arrangement, saying that being a DH is “still a job that’s not normal for me. It’s still something I’m figuring out.” However, Buxton also said that “as long as I’m playing, that don’t faze me.” Buxton has been solid if unspectacular at the plate thus far, hitting .243/.316/.443 with three homers over 79 plate appearances, translating to a 113 wRC+.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Oh noes the Twinkie season is ober!
Duran hit a shot off of Maeda’s ankle and Maeda was able to pick up the ball and throw him out before falling like a ton of bricks. Never seen a play like it
It probably went numb at first, and his instincts kicked in. Then the pain followed.
Yup and there’s some ahole supposed sox fans celebrating the injury because it helped their team win what pathetic losers
Just like my marriage….
@Ham Fighter, I was also celebrating your marriage failure… it was the only way she’d learn to appreciate you. Now she’s stuck with Spam Fighter. It’s just not the same.
Buck could thrive off the adrenaline of playing center. I hope he can get a day soon. At least he can still hit for power, but still seems a little cold and uninvolved which some reps in the field might help. Not to overdo it, but not being on the defensive side and moving full DH has hurt hitters in the past.
I think he’ll get some reps in CF once the Minnesota temperatures are in the 60s and 70s instead of the 30s and 40s. This past winter has been pretty ridiculous.
Buxton couldn’t figure out ketchup on a hotdog.
Fast start, long fizzle. It’s the Tribe’s division too lose
Huh ? Twins and white sox are on the same level as Cleveland. All your prospects aren’t going to ball out every season. They just got hot last year
Shot out to all the defense lovers out there ! Buxton, a gold glove center fielder isn’t even missed on the field, so they can have his bat in lineup.
Defense is so over rated !
Except the Twins are playing another gold glove defensive center fielder in his stead. Idiot
Brandon Buxton has around 300 million reasons to test free agency if the Twins don’t give him a new contract.
@Ace_ you appear to be late to the party. Buxton signed a 7 year $100MM contract plus incentives. No opt outs. Full NTC. He’s under team control until 2029.
Buxton is probably not worth the contract as a DH and Michael A. Taylor is not really a starting caliber center fielder. It does make me suspect the Twins are expecting Royce Lewis to cover CF when he returns. Still, we’re more than a month away from the first game Lewis could be back for on May 29th.