The Twins placed outfielder Michael A. Taylor on the 10-day injured list due to a right hamstring strain. Minnesota also announced that utilityman Willi Castro was activated from his own 10-day IL stint to take Taylor’s spot on the active roster.
Acquired from the Royals in an offseason trade, Taylor has been Minnesota’s primary center fielder this season, helping fill the void up the middle since Byron Buxton’s knee issues have limited him to DH duty. Taylor has delivered his customary excellent defense and also provided the Twins with some unexpected power, as the outfielder has hit a career-best 20 home runs. While Taylor’s .229/.281/.456 slash line over 354 plate appearances still translates to a slightly below-average 99 wRC+, that still represents Taylor’s best number since his 104 wRC+ with the Nationals in 2017. Between the glovework, the power, and 13 steals in 14 chances, Taylor has generated 1.9 fWAR, making him a nice under-the-radar contributor to the Twins’ lineup.
Unfortunately, he’ll now miss at least the 10 days healing up a balky hamstring that has been a nagging issue for most of the week. Losing Taylor is a setback for a Twins club that is still trying to put away the Guardians in the AL Central race, and Minnesota can only hope that Taylor won’t miss much beyond the 10-day minimum.
Castro has seen the second-most innings of any Twins player in center field this season, so the utilityman is likely to be joined by Andrew Stevenson, Jordan Luplow, and Joey Gallo in filling in on the grass while Taylor is out. Castro hasn’t played since August 11 due to a left oblique strain, but he’ll now return to give Minnesota a versatile depth option all over the diamond. Left field, third base, and center field have been Castro’s primary positions this year, but he has also seen some time as a second baseman, shortstop, and right fielder. At the plate, Castro is hitting .241/.322/.371 over 315 PA.
In other Twins outfield news, Buxton continues to recover from a hamstring strain of his own, though he has still been battling patella tendinitis in his bothersome right knee. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters (including Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune) that Buxton’s knee soreness isn’t unexpected, especially since Buxton had recently played center field during his minor league rehab assignment. This represented Buxton’s first time playing in the field in over a year.