Why was Jorge Lopez placed on the restricted list?

The Minnesota Twins announced the reason for placing reliever Jorge Lopez on the restricted list on Sunday afternoon.

San Francisco Giants v Minnesota Twins
San Francisco Giants v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

A strange but not unprecedented announcement was made by the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon.

Before the team’s weekend series finale against the Detroit Tigers, it was announed that reliever Jorge Lopez was being placed on the Restricted List. It was a surprising bit of news, especially since the first place everyone’s mind went was to the Twins making a move based on performance.

It’s been no secret that since arriving in Minnesota Lopez has been less than what was advertised ahead of the trade deadline last season. In Baltimore he was an All-Star pitcher with a 1.56 ERA, but has struggled mightily since joining the Twins.

Lopez has tried to brush off the struggles with a smile, but the issues have persisted.

The move to place him on the restricted list isn’t one based on his performance, rather something deeper and more concerning on a human level.

Why was Jorge Lopez placed on the restricted list?

Not long after it was announced that Lopez would be placed on the restricted list, the Twins revealed he was being transferred the the 15-day mental health injured list.

According to The Athletic’s Dan Hayes, this is the fourth time this season a player has been placed on the IL for mental health reasons. Daniel Bard, Trevor May, and Austin Meadows are the other players around the league who have spent time on the IL for the same reason Lopez is heading there right now.

This is beyond baseball, and as frustrating as it’s been to watch Lopez pitch since he arrived in Minnesota it’s a reminder that the game is made up of human beings. Twins fans who initially dropped the same ‘restricted from playing good baseball’ joke about Lopez when the news was announced pivoted to a show of support for him after the reason for his absence was revealed.

Lopez is eligible to re-join the Twins in 15 days, at which time his situation will be reassessed.

In the meantime, Lopez’s initial placement on the restricted list opened up a roster spot for Jordan Balazovic to be selected from Triple-A St. Paul and make his Major League debut with the team.