As the final stretch of the 2023 regular season continues, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Twins on the verge of clinching:
Despite having the day off today, the Twins (81-72) could clinch the AL Central crown by the end of the night. Their magic numbers over both the Guardians (72-81) and Tigers (71-81) sit at one, meaning that if both teams lose tonight, the Twins will officially become the 2023 AL Central champions. Clinching early will give the Twins the luxury of proceeding cautiously with some of their ailing regulars in advance of the postseason. Shortstop Carlos Correa has already been placed on the injured list after playing the bulk of the season with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Third baseman Royce Lewis is set to undergo an MRI today after exiting Tuesday’s game due to hamstring soreness. With a guaranteed playoff spot, the Twins can much more comfortably rely on Willi Castro and Kyle Farmer to cover for Lewis and Correa as that pair hopes to heal up ahead of the playoffs.
2. Guerrero to undergo MRI:
Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was out of the lineup for yesterday’s win over the Yankees, and MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson notes that the slugger has undergone an MRI due to right knee soreness. It’s been a down year for Guerrero (by his standards), as the 24-year-old has slashed just .264/.342/.440 in 644 trips to the plate this season. Still, that production (115 wRC+) leaves him as a critical cog in the Toronto lineup surpassed only by shortstop Bo Bichette, particularly with both Brandon Belt and Danny Jansen on the injured list. If Guerrero requires a trip to the injured list, the club figures to rely on the likes of Spencer Horwitz and Cavan Biggio to handle first base in the interim.
3. Raley to undergo MRI:
Rays outfielder Luke Raley is also set to undergo an MRI today, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Raley told reporters (including Topkin) that he’s dealing with numbness in his left arm to the point that he had no power behind his most recent swing. Raley’s been out of the lineup for nearly a week now due to the issue. The 29-year-old slugger is slashing .249/.333/.490 with a 129 wRC+ in 406 trips to the plate this year while splitting time between the outfield and DH. Raley’s absence has created additional opportunities for righty slugger Harold Ramirez and youngster Jonathan Aranda in recent days, and that figures to continue if Raley requires a trip to the injured list.