It’s been nearly a month since Josh Donaldson exited the Minnesota Twins’ July 31 game against Cleveland with calf tightness.
Donaldson, who has a strained right calf, is just now progressing to the point where he has been playing intrasquad games and facing live pitching over at CHS Field, the Twins’ alternate site.
He’s also been working out at Target Field while the Twins are on their current road trip.
“This has all been part of the calendar and the plan in terms of his next steps. Each day we wait for the next day to see how he responds, see how he feels,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “At this point, he’s tracking really well.”
Though they’d love to have Donaldson and his bat — the Twins signed the former MVP to the richest free-agent contract in team history this past offseason — they are treading carefully as Donaldson has a history of calf issues.
Donaldson missed significant time with calf issues in both 2017 and 2018, and Falvey said because of his past, they wanted to be slightly conservative with respect to his return.
The Twins are likely to have another update on Donaldson during their upcoming series against Detroit, Falvey said, after the third baseman has a few more days of work under his belt.
“He has had a history with, at one point in time, maybe rushing it back a bit to try and get on the field as quickly as possible, and because of that we want to make sure he gets as much time in as possible,” Falvey said.
Donaldson aside, the Twins are dealing with a myriad of other injuries. Here’s an update:
Byron Buxton (shoulder): Falvey said Buxton came in both Monday and Tuesday and was swinging the bat and feeling “much improved” and like he is “progressing really well.”
Mitch Garver (intercostal): Garver has continued to progress and is starting to feel better, Falvey said, but it seems as if he will not be ready to go when his 10 days on the IL have passed.
“I think we were hopeful of that, but he’s remained a little bit sore,” Falvey said. “He’s focused more on the recovery part of it right now than he is on the rehab exercises part of the equation here.”
Cody Stashak (back): Falvey said Stashak felt a little bit of soreness on Monday, which they were not concerned about. Tuesday was a recovery day for him, and they will check in on him Wednesday, Falvey said.
Zack Littell (elbow) returned from the road trip to the Twin Cities, where he was evaluated and the results have come back positive.
Falvey said that had they not needed to make a roster move to lengthen their bullpen, Littell might only have needed a few days to recover and not needed an IL stint.
Jake Odorizzi (abdomen): Odorizzi, who was hit by a batted ball over the weekend, is dealing with bruising and soreness, Falvey said.
“(We’re) just make sure he starts to feel good enough that when he gets back on the mound, he can let it go and throw at full strength,” Falvey said. “He’s not quite there yet.”
Homer Bailey (biceps): Bailey was previously transferred to the 45-day injured list. Falvey said he is focusing more on arm-care routines and not so much the throwing program at this point as they try to get him ready to rejoin them in September.
Tyler Clippard (elbow): It appears Clippard, who was struck by a comebacker over the weekend, will avoid the injured list. Manager Rocco Baldelli said he played catch Tuesday with LaTroy Hawkins and said he felt well enough to pitch.
Prospect Nick Gordon, who was dealing with COVID-19, has recently cleared the protocols. The Twins will send Gordon, who lives in Florida, to their complex in Fort Myers for a rehab assignment. … The Twins have added Lewis Thorpe to their taxi squad. … Michael Pineda (suspension) threw in an intrasquad game recently in St. Paul and was up to 94 mph, Falvey said.