Minnesota Twins: Max Kepler, Luis Arraez make progress in advance of ALDS
By Chris Schad
Two of the Minnesota Twins’ key cogs are making progress as they look to get healthy in advance of Friday’s opener of the American League Divisional Series.
For the past couple of months, the Minnesota Twins have been trying to fight off the injury bug. While the Twins have done a good job at getting most of their players rested ahead of Friday’s opener of the American League Divisional Series with the New York Yankees, there are still a couple of players whose status is in question but are progressing toward returning to the lineup.
For Luis Arraez and Max Kepler, the next couple of days will be important to see if they can make the ALDS roster and during the early part of the process, the gains are looking good in advance of Friday’s 9 a.m. CT deadline to finalize their 25-man roster for the best-of-five game series.
Kepler’s saga has been ongoing for about a month, but initial reports suggested he had been battling a shoulder injury much longer than when it flared up in early September. After being removed from a game on Sept. 8 with shoulder inflammation, Kepler hasn’t had an at-bat since Sept. 14, putting his readiness for the ALDS in doubt.
However, when talking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Baldelli said that the next couple of days will be crucial in his recovery as Kepler will take the field to get back up to game speed.
"“He’s going to work these next few days,” Baldelli said. “I wouldn’t call them light days. Hopefully, the weather can cooperate and we can get outside at least one of the next two days because it could be important for him, not just physically, but for his confidence to get out there.”"
Even with the extended layoff, Baldelli also feels good about Kepler’s potential availability when the series opens in the Bronx.
"“I think he’ll be feeling good and feeling better as the week goes on,” Baldelli added. “I think these last four days are going to be helpful on top of all the other time [he’s missed], but there’s no way to know for sure.”"
As Kepler appears he will at least make the ALDS roster, the clock is ticking to see if Arraez can recover from a sprained ankle he sustained on Saturday afternoon. While the Twins received good news earlier in the week on the injury, the Twins still need to provide treatment with hopes his movement will return and the pain will subside to be effective enough to play.
While Baldelli said he had no public thoughts on Arraez at the moment, he did mention that the 22-year old was doing well and, like Kepler, the next couple of days would be a big indicator if he’s ready to go.
"“He’s already doing significantly better than he was,” Baldelli said. “I haven’t seen him today, but I’ve heard he’s moving around, walking and he’s been in the pool a lot. We’re putting him through the ringer right now to give ourselves every opportunity to get him back.”"
As both players recover from their injuries, it will be interesting to see if one or both players make the final ALDS roster on Friday morning.