The Minnesota Twins released their 25-man roster for the American League Divisional Series on Friday and both injured players made the cut.
The Minnesota Twins can breathe a sigh of relief for the moment as they look to have a majority of their key players available for the American League Divisional Series. As the Twins made their 25-man roster for the best-of-five game series with the New York Yankees on Friday morning, both Max Kepler and Luis Arraez made the roster along with another couple surprising decisions.
For Kepler and Arraez, their status was in question for most of the week after a long layoff and a sudden injury. With Kepler recovering from inflammation in his shoulder and Arraez recovering from a sprained ankle last weekend, both players spent the week ramping up their activity to be ready to go for Friday’s opener.
As the Twins announced their Game 1 lineup later on Friday, it appears that plan worked as both Kepler and Arraez will play in the opener. Kepler is slated to start in right field and bat sixth and Arraez will bat ninth against left-hander James Paxton.
Outside of the returning players, the Twins had some tough decisions to make in their bullpen. In the end, the final two spots went to Brusdar Graterol and Devin Smeltzer, who together form a youth movement in the back end of games.
Graterol looked like a rookie during his September audition for a playoff roster spot, recording a 4.66 ERA in 9 2/3 innings, but also dazzled with a fastball that routinely flirted with 100 MPH. With 10 strikeouts and a pair of walks, the 21-year old figures to give the Twins some power in the later innings if needed.
Smeltzer would also make the cut by beating out Lewis Thorpe and Martin Perez as the second left-hander in the bullpen along with Taylor Rogers. Smeltzer has had a solid rookie season going 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA, but he may have also won the job by pitching better than Thorpe and Perez during the month of September. Now that he’s on the roster, he’ll primarily match up with Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius in the middle innings.
With the roster set, the Twins will look to steal one of the first two games in the Bronx on Friday and Saturday before coming home for Game 3 on Monday night and Game 4 (if necessary) on Tuesday.