Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer setback the latest in injuries to sink the the 2018 season
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins looked poised to take 2018 and major league baseball by storm, but a host of injuries may derail the whole season.
The Minnesota Twins had high hopes for the 2018 season. After jumping up out of nowhere to make the playoffs in 2017 even when it seemed impossible the team in 2018 seemed to be a lock to be a competitive team. As the calendar turns to June, this team looks almost ready to begin trying sell off assets as they are 22-30 and 6.5 games back of the division lead. The biggest reason, injuries.
This past week has featured several different bits of injury news. Most recently Joe Mauer reported a set back as he recovers from a stiff neck and concussion-like symptoms. Not something any of us want to hear about for the veteran who has already had to abandon playing catcher because of head injuries.
Byron Buxton also hit the disabled list once again as his fractured big toe still isn’t healed and he was unable to play through the pain any longer. Twins 2017 ace, Ervin Santana also had a set back with his surgically repaired finger and was pulled from his rehab assignment. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Twins starters who have missed playing time.
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When added up the Twins have missed significant time from five starting positions: center fielder, third base, shortstop, first base, and catcher. Players not yet mentioned have been catcher Jason Castro who is lost for the season after injuring his meniscus. A huge blow defensively as he is a top pitch-framing catcher. Not an injury, but shortstop Jorge Polanco was going to be relied on heavily this season before being suspended for 80 games before the season even began.
Lastly is the time Miguel Sano has missed. He is an example of how not only missed time effects the lineup but sometimes the time it takes to get back up to speed does as well. Recently it has been pointed out that it doesn’t seem that Sano is 100% healthy and may still be favoring his lower body after offseason leg surgery and a recent hamstring injury. That has caused Sano to rely heavily on his upper body strength while batting.
A major league baseball team always needs to be ready to endure some level of injuries in order to have a successful season. The Twins spent the offseason making sure that their pitching staff was ready for injuries. Now the Twins are looking at what feels like an embarrassment of riches compared to previous seasons with that part of their roster.
The team was not ready for this level of injuries when it came to their position players. So now what should have been a major strength, the lineup, has become a liability for much of this current losing stretch.
Next: Is it make it or break it time for the Twins?
If the Twins do end up being sellers at the trade deadline because they drop out of the playoff race, many will be looking for someone to blame. Plenty of names and positions will be thrown out, but in the end, it is missed times by key players that will be to blame.