Betsy Helfand / St. Paul Pioneer Press
SEATTLE -- It was a brief interaction, and probably one of many just like it that Ken Griffey Jr. had on Friday night. But for Trevor May, it was a meeting he won’t soon forget as he met the hall of famer he grew up watching. “I don’t think he realizes how crazy that is for me, but it was cool,” May said. May, who was raised in Kelso, Wash., a couple of hours south of Seattle, grew up a Mariners fan. So even though the interaction was brief, it packed plenty of meaning to him.
SEATTLE — Nelson Cruz seemed confident Monday that his sore left wrist wouldn’t land him on the injured list. But as the days of the week piled up and Cruz remained out of the lineup, the Twins finally made a move, placing him on the 10-day injured list. The move is retroactive to May 14.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Marwin Gonzalez found himself in an unfamiliar position Tuesday night, May 14. With Max Kepler getting a day off, the 30-year-old Gonzalez found himself starting in right field for the first time in his career. “When you suggest something to him, he believes he can do it and we believe he can do it, too,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. And so Gonzalez went out to right. Gonzalez, the Twins’ multi-positional every-day player, is getting closer and closer to being used as just that.
MINNEAPOLIS -- A day after finding out they avoided the worst with pitcher Martin Perez, who took a batted ball off the foot in Sunday’s game, the Minnesota Twins appear to have escaped serious injury with designated hitter Nelson Cruz, too. Cruz, who left Sunday’s game with left wrist soreness, said his MRI on Monday, May 13, came out clean. He is day-to-day but appeared confident that he would avoid the injured list and be able to swing a bat Tuesday or Wednesday.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Willians Astudillo was behind the plate for a very important pitch Sunday afternoon, catching a throw from his mother, Ana Mercedes Astudillo. Saturday night after the game, Astudillo was asked about it and he, in turn, asked his mom. “We already practiced in the parking lot in my apartment,” Astudillo said before the first pitch. Astudillo was also behind the plate for Sunday’s game, starting in his first appearance off the injured list. He also led off for the first time this season, going 1-for-5 with a double.
MINNEAPOLIS -- First, they lost their starting pitcher, then they lost their designated hitter, and to top it off, they lost the game on Sunday. As the Twins have jumped to the top of the division, they have fortunate that their injuries have been relatively limited. But Sunday, May 12, in their 5-3 loss to the Tigers, Martin Perez had to leave after being smoked in the foot with a Nicholas Castellanos batted ball and Nelson Cruz left with a left wrist injury.
MINNEAPOLIS -- He may have given up three home runs, but the Twins view Saturday, May 11, as a positive step for Michael Pineda, who threw six-plus innings and took a no-decision in their 5-3 loss to the Tigers. Pineda gave up three runs on six hits while striking out five and not allowing a walk. He said last month he had been working on his slider command. He got nine of his 15 swinging strikes on Saturday with the pitch and said he felt “pretty good,” with it, though one of the home runs he gave up came via the slider.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rocco Baldelli can hear the eagerness in Miguel Sano’s voice. When the two chat on the phone, Sano talks more about being back with his teammates than his own progress. Sano keeps taking steps in the right direction, progressing to Triple-A Rochester on Friday, May 10. Rochester will be his final rehab stop before his return.
TORONTO — There is a small tattoo on the inside of Ehire Adrianza’s left wrist that serves as a reminder of home. The tattoo, which he got three years ago, depicts the outline of Venezuela. Adrianza hasn’t been home in three years, as Venezuela is being ravaged by humanitarian and political crises. Native Venezuelans Adrianza, Willians Astudillo, Martin Perez and Marwin Gonzalez and assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez show up for work every day and pour their focus into Twins baseball. But thoughts of their friends, family and countrymen are never far away.
TORONTO — When the Twins broke camp with three catchers, all of whom they planned to play, it was impossible to predict that it would work as well as it has so far. Heading into Wednesday, May 8, when catching, Jason Castro, Mitch Garver and Willians Astudillo put together a combined .336/.412/.735 slash line. Their OPS, when catching, was 1.147, they had driven in 29 runs and hit 12 home runs, tops in major league baseball. Their 2.4 catcher WAR, per FanGraphs, also was tops in the game.