CLEVELAND -- Two pitchers the Minnesota Twins were counting on for big contributions are on the injured list, and both were scheduled to visit Thursday with hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham at Progressive Field in Cleveland, where the Twins were set to wrap up a four-game series against the Indians.
Taylor Rogers and Randy Dobnak have each lost significant portions of their season to an injured middle finger on their throwing hand, Rogers officially a sprain in the left, Dobnak a strain in the right.
It’s a little odd, or unlucky, because it’s not a common injury for a pitcher.
“There are some; they’re scattered,” Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson said Thursday. “There’s a lot of thought that a lot of guys have this injury, it’s just to a different level. A lot of guys have it (and) it’s kind of (about) the severity of it.”
Rogers, the Twins’ primary closer when he was hurt, hasn’t pitched since being injured July 26. Dobnak was supposed to start Thursday night’s game but was pulled and placed on the 10-day injured list after making one start since returning from an 11-week absence because of the same injury.
Johnson wasn’t about to predict whether either pitcher would be back this season, which ends Sept. 30, without hearing Graham’s prognosis. Based in Dayton, Ohio, Graham performed season-ending wrist surgery on Twins outfielder/first baseman Alex Kirilloff on July 23.
He said there was “no need to rush” Dobnak, and that if Rogers doesn’t pitch again this season, Johnson said, “I’m not worried about it by any means.”
“But that will be up to Dr. Graham,” he added, “then we’ll sit down with (manager) Rocco (Baldelli) and kind of go from there.”
Dobnak, 26, signed an incentives-based, five-year contract extension worth a guaranteed $9.25 million on May 29. He is 1-7 with a 7.64 earned-run average. Johnson said the finger felt fine in Dobnak’s Sept. 3 start — a 5-3 loss at Tampa Bay — but he felt something while playing catch Wednesday in Cleveland.
Johnson said Dobnak threw a bullpen session on Tuesday “and his metrics were outstanding, he felt great. It was yesterday about halfway through his catch-play that he said it just didn’t feel right. Obviously, we’re going to take him off at that point and get him in with the doctors.”
To take his place on the active roster, and on the mound Thursday, the Twins recalled veteran Andrew Albers from St. Paul.
Albers, 35, has made two appearances for the Twins this season, going 1-1 with a 7.30 ERA. He was optioned back to Triple-A St. Paul after allowing nine earned runs on 10 hits and a walk in three innings of an 11-4 loss at Tampa Bay on Aug. 27.
In his second major league start Wednesday, right-hander Joe Ryan took a perfect game into the seventh inning of a 3-0 victory. Asked if the performance — 6.1 one-hit, shutout innings — might be an indicator of his future success, Johnson said, “He’s got some things he’s got to work on and continue to get better at. Is the foundation there? For sure. But we’ve got to come aways with some other things that we’re doing — in my opinion.” … Right-handed pitcher Derek Law, who was designated for release or assignment on Sunday, has cleared waivers and been outrighted to St. Paul.