One of the fan favorites on the Minnesota Twins roster continues to have a slow recovery from an oblique injury and will be out until at least September.
The early weeks of the season was a great time for the Minnesota Twins. After getting off to a red-hot start and seeing baseballs fly over the fence at a franchise-record pace, the Twins were off to a big lead in the American League Central and some were even planning their spot on the parade route on Nicollet Avenue for when the Twins won the World Series.
One of the best parts of those first months was the rise of utilityman Willians Astudillo. Known for his hustle on the field and his husky stature, Twins fans became enamored with “La Tortuga” even if his stat line of .263 with three home runs and 13 RBI didn’t exactly scream superstar. Regardless, as No. 64 jerseys popped up across Twins Territory, it was clear he was making an impact on the team in other ways.
Despite being sent down at one point of the season, the Astudillo hype train continued to barrel full steam ahead until he injured his oblique making a leaping catch on June 26. The 27-year old went on the injured list the following day and has been on the shelf since.
With the stay on the list approaching a couple of months, the biggest question here is when will Astudillo return to the lineup? According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal, it won’t be anytime soon as he projects that the utilityman will be out until at least September due to the injury.
Whether or not this is a crushing blow for the Twins depends on what you think of Astudillo. If you look at his stats and his approach at the plate, where he holds a 1.4% walk rate, then you’re thinking this isn’t a major deal. If you’re thinking of his ability to play multiple positions and a hustle factor that resembles a giant Nick Punto, this news might sting.
For the Twins, the answer is somewhere between. With several other Twins on the injured list, manager Rocco Baldelli can use every healthy body he can get as Minnesota tries to catch up to the Cleveland Indians for the lead in the AL Central.