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Twins’ injured Jorge Polanco expected to miss more time

Second baseman has now missed a total of 11 games this season

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins second base Jorge Polanco (11) hits a single against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 27, 2022.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli hasn’t quite become used to leaving Jorge Polanco’s name off of the lineup card. Can you blame him? In each of the past three seasons, Polanco has missed 10 games or less. The second baseman has long been a stable force for the Twins with not only his on-field performance but his availability.

That is, until he left a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 12 with back tightness. That landed him on the 10-day injured list a day later. And while he’s eligible to return to the team on Thursday, Baldelli wasn’t optimistic about that happening.

“It could be longer than 10 days. I think it’s just fair to leave it at that,” he said, adding that Polanco has not started full baseball activities yet.

So, for the first time since Polanco missed the first 80 games of the 2018 season due to a suspension, a constant presence in the batter’s box and in the infield will be out for more than two weeks. He has now missed a total of 11 games this season.

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While that wouldn’t be newsworthy for most, it is for Polanco.

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“It actually is strange not seeing him out there, and even when he misses time, it’s normally not very long,” Baldelli said. “We’re talking about a day. This is a guy that plays through a lot, he has played through a lot, and it’s not even a question normally of whether or not he’s gonna be in the lineup. It’s just, is he gonna be able to run or not? Is he gonna be able to swing the bat the way he needs to or not? If the answer is any version of yes, normally he’s out there.”

So much so that when Polanco is hurting, Baldelli said the staff needs to force his hand and push him out of the lineup.

“I think he feels like he’s letting people down in a big way if he’s not in the lineup every single day. He’s not,” Baldelli said.

Lewis' surgery successful

For the second time in 16 months, Royce Lewis has undergone surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The young shortstop underwent the repair on Tuesday in Dallas with Dr. Steven Singleton.

Lewis partially tore the ACL on May 29 after he crashed into the center-field wall at Target Field. It was the same knee that he tore in February 2021. His recovery is expected to be 12 months. Lewis is expected to spend the next one or two weeks in Dallas to recover before rejoining the team in Minnesota.

“Everything seems to have gone well,” Baldelli said. “That’s really all we have at the moment. But it’s good news so we’ll take that and then hopefully get him back here and can see him up here.”

Lewis appeared in 12 games for the Twins this season, hitting .300 with two home runs and five runs batted in in 41 at-bats. He was transferred to the 60-day IL on June 11.

Winder progressing

Right-handed pitcher Josh Winder (right shoulder impingement) will make his third rehab start on Wednesday with Triple-A St. Paul. He is expected to throw 70 pitches, an increase from the 46 pitches he threw during his second rehab start last week.

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However, while Winder is making progress, Baldelli did not commit to Winder returning to the Twins after the start.

“We’re going to see where he’s at after the outing,” Baldelli said. “We’re not going to commit to any one specific plan with him. I think there’s a few different ways we could use Josh in the near future, but we’re going to wait and see how he pitches and see how he feels first."

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