Twins roster is thinning out fast as another key player could head to injured list

Minnesota's depth is already getting tested.

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

It didn't take long for the Minnesota Twins depth to get tested right out of the gate this season.

Even before Opening Day rolled around the Twins roster started the thin out, with key pitchers like Jhoan Duran and Caleb Thielbar hitting the IL. Anthony DeSclafani's season is already over as he'll need elbow surgery, while Justin Topa also started the season on the injured list which means the Twins have neither of the big league pieces of the Jorge Polanco trade package available.

Things got about as bad as they could on Thursday when Royce Lewis was lost for at least the next month after suffering a severe quad strain. Lewis was by far the most significant injury but he wasn't the only key player the Twins might have lost on Opening Day.

Max Kepler exited Thursday's win over the Royals after fouling a ball off his right knee. He finished the at-bat but was taken out, and now it's unclear when exactly he'll return to the lineup.

How worried should Twins fans be about Max Kepler hitting the IL?

Rocco Baldelli offered up an update on Kepler after Sunday's brutal 11-0 loss, and none of it sounded promising. Kepler hasn't been placed on the IL yet, but it certainly seems like that could be on the table given Rocco's comments.

"He just couldn't run. If he could play today, he would be out there," Baldelli said. The Twins have Monday off before opening a two-game series at Milwaukee, and "if he's not able to play there, we're going to have to talk about an [injured list] stint."

This is eeirly reminicsent of how Kepler started last season, as he hit the IL just a few games into the year. He came up limping after trying to run out an infield single against the Miami Marlins, which took him out of the game and soon sent him to the IL.

Much like this scenario it wasn't an immediate trip to the injured list. Kepler hurt himself on April 3rd but didn't end up going on the IL until five days later. That lines up with what we might be dealing with here, as Kepler injured his knee five days ago and hasn't played since.

The problem is that the Twins roster depth is already thinning out and it's not clear how Kepler can be replaced. Trevor Larnach is starting the season injured at Triple-A and won't be available, and Brooks Lee is dealing with back spasms that are holding him back.

Either way, the main takeaway is that another key player is dealing with an injury less than a week into the season which is not ideal. The Twins have a two game series in Milwaukee coming up and then a critical four game home opener against Cleveland that could either set the season off on the right foot or set Minnesota back.

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