After two months of poor play by the Twins, they are finally finding a way to win with a line-up full of minor leaguers. The Twins have had a roster full of players on the Disabled List (DL). Since June 1, the Twins have found their groove by winning nine out of twelve games. Now, the Twins are appearing to get healthier, getting back at least two opening day starters.
Seven games into the 2011 season, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Twins infielder, broke his left fibula trying to turn a double play in New York. Instantly, he was placed on the DL for about two months. Luckily, Nishioka’s leg didn’t require surgery, but he needed to use crutches for a long time. A couple of weeks ago, Nishioka started a rehab stint. In seven games in the Twins Minor League system, Nishioka went 8 for 24 with 4 RBIs and a double. Nishioka looks to be ready for his return to the Twins, just being activated from the DL. He could make his Target Field debut this week, playing shortstop. The Twins had him at second base on opening day, but they feel like he will play better at shortstop. Look for Alexi Casilla to play second base.
On April 12, Joe Mauer was placed on the DL with the flu and bilateral leg weakness. People were worried because leg weakness can lead to serious illnesses, like a stroke. Although it was quickly reported that it was not serious, fans started to wonder what was causing Mauer to be held out of the line-up for two months–it seemed to be a mystery injury! After Mauer’s flu got better, he started baseball activities, like pool therapy. In his rehab stint with Fort Myers, Mauer has a batting average of .261 with one home run. Mauer is expected to be in the Twins line-up this weekend playing catcher. There is growing speculation that the hometown hero will be moved to the outfield because of Mauer’s frequent injuries of being a tall catcher. The Twins have denied such reports.
Meanwhile, the Twins placed first baseman Justin Morneau on the DL on June 14 with a left wrist strain. Morneau took about 20 swings at batting practice on Tuesday, but didn’t feel comfortable swinging the bat. His wrist will be immobilized for ten days. Morneau could have been put on the DL a week ago, but the Twins couldn’t afford to do so because they had too many others out injured.
One final note: Left hander Glen Perkins is expected to be back in the Twins bullpen this week after a stint on the DL. Perkins was placed on the DL in May with a right oblique strain.
Written by: Michael L. Sack