ST. LOUIS — Taylor Rogers might be able to avoid surgery on his left middle finger, which he sprained earlier in the week. But even if he does, there’s no guarantee that the all-star reliever will be back before the season ends.
In fact, it seems unlikely that he will, though the Twins aren’t yet ruling out the possibility.
“What I’d heard originally, I did not anticipate him pitching again this year, and I think that was a fairly understood view,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But I don’t want to rule that out, especially before we have all the information.”
Rogers, Baldelli said, is still going through the opinion process right now. He has received an opinion to take a more conservative approach and not have a procedure on his finger, which Baldelli said the reliever was leaning toward at the moment.
“We’re still compiling information and getting opinions, and I think that’s where we’re sitting right now,” Baldelli said. “There’s not much for him to do right now, either, except listen and try to figure out exactly the next approach as far as resting and icing and some treatment is all he can do right now.”
In 40 appearances, Rogers, the Twins’ most dependable reliever, had a 3.35 earned-run average and had struck out 59 in his 40 1/3 innings. He had converted nine saves, and his body of work was rewarded earlier this month by the first all-star nod of his career.
With Rogers and Hansel Robles, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox on Friday, no longer options, roles will be shifting in the bullpen as the Twins search for the right combination to close out games.
“It will probably take a little bit of time for all of those things to sort themselves out,” Baldelli said. “Everyone in our bullpen right now is just going to be ready to pitch. They could find themselves pitching in different spots.”
Luis Arraez thinks he might have caught the ball, if only he hadn’t slid. Maybe he would’ve avoided the injured list, too.
But it’s water under the bridge, now.
Arraez was placed on the injured list with a right knee strain shortly after hurting himself sliding for a José Abreu ball hit to left on July 20. The ball got past him and went for a triple.
On Saturday, Arraez returned from the injured list and was ecstatic to be back. He said he had been ready for five days to return, but he had to wait until he was eligible to be activated.
“I’m so bored inside and then I talked to Rocco and said, ‘Hey, I need to play,’ ” Arraez said. “And then I come in today and he said, ‘Hey, you’re in the lineup today. Are you 100 percent?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’m 100 percent.’ ”
To make room on the roster, the Twins optioned outfielder Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A.
Byron Buxton (hand) has been swinging the bat lightly and has begun to do tee work, Baldelli said. “Gripping and ramping up strengthening … is going to be important before he can start doing things at a competitive live-type speed,” Baldelli said. … Josh Donaldson was not in the starting lineup for the second day as he deals with tightness in his right hamstring.