The Twins will not see Josh Donaldson, their big free-agent acquisition, play on this road trip after placing him on the injured list before Friday night’s game with a right calf strain.
The third baseman left the Twins’ July 31 game against Cleveland, but the Twins had held off on making the IL move for a week. They finally did on Friday, retroactive to Aug. 4. Donaldson, if ready, would be eligible to return to the lineup when the Twins return to Target Field next Friday.
“With 30-man rosters, we felt we had the flexibility to maybe play this out for a few days. After having him run a little bit today, he was still sore,” president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said on the Fox Sports North broadcast. “We felt like (this was) the best thing to do to be smart about this and make sure that he gets this fully taken care of before he gets back on the field. So we’re going to put him on the IL for a few days.”
Donaldson has issues with calf strains in the past. He missed significant time in 2017 with a right calf strain and time again the next season with a left calf injury.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said before the game that Donaldson has been swinging the bat and has looked good doing so, but he is doing some things at less than full speed.
“He’s still on his swinging the bat, ramping up towards actually getting on his feet and running, taking ground balls,” Baldelli said. “He looks fine to the eye doing a lot of these things, but we are going to make sure that this is not going to be a long-term issue. Even if you’re close with a muscle injury and you’re able to do a lot, it doesn’t mean you’re 100 percent. I want to make sure he’s 100 percent out there.”
Luis Arraez was out of the lineup for the second straight game on Friday night. Baldelli had said Thursday’s absence was a planned day off for the second baseman.
Friday, Baldelli said that coming off of the day off, Arraez had been feeling a bit of knee soreness. Baldelli described it as minor and said he thought Arraez would be back in the lineup in the next day or two.
“It’s something that he’s dealt with before, and it just kind of sprouted up on us,” Baldelli said.
Before his two days off, Arraez had gone just 1 for 19 (.053) in his last six games, after recording at least one hit in each of the first five games he played in.
“I would say I don’t really like working off small sample sizes or anything like that. We’re talking about a few swings here and there, maybe,” Baldelli said Thursday. “I think the quality of the at-bats is still very, very good. He’s probably as difficult of an at-bat for a lot of pitchers as anyone in the game. I think that as we play this season out, we’re going to see it.”
Rich Hill is with the Twins in Kansas City. Homer Bailey stayed back in the Twin Cities. Hill and Bailey, who both signed with the Twins this past offseason, have made just one start each this season.
Baldelli said Hill is “actively going through his routine and his throwing program,” every day as he works his way back from the shoulder fatigue that has kept him out of action.
Bailey, meanwhile, is “going to take a few days off from throwing,” Baldelli said, indicating he is not as close to a return. The veteran has been sidelined with biceps tendinitis.
A baseball-starved fanbase has made the Twins a rating hit for FSN through the early part of the season, per a Forbes report, something which is unsurprising considering fans have gone months without live sports and the team is atop its division.
Viewership for Twins games is up 47 percent from a season ago, Forbes found, and is near tops in the league. The report shows that 20 of the league’s 29 teams —the Toronto Blue Jays are not included in the report — have had an increase in viewership so far during the 2020 season.
“I know how hungry fans are to be able to watch the games,” FSN play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer said shortly before the season started. “I get to work with some of the best people in the business, and together we’ll do the very best anyone can try to do something in a way that no one’s ever done it before.”