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Twins send Trevor Larnach to Triple-A to reset

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had a conversation with Larnach to deliver the news, and Larnach was disappointed, but receptive to what the manager was saying, Baldelli said.

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Minnesota Twins right fielder Trevor Larnach (24) singles off Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (not pictured) for an RBI during the third inning at Target Field on Monday, July 5, 2021. Jeffrey Becker / -USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — Trevor Larnach was blunt in his self-assessment earlier this month. Mired in a slump that had lasted for months, the young outfielder did not shy away from a raw, honest assessment.

“This game, especially in the big leagues, it will show you where you are lacking. It will show you everything. It’s unforgiving,” Larnach said in early August. “When you are facing the best guys every single day, they are going to expose you, and that’s exactly what has happened.”

The 24-year-old has been with the Twins since early May when Byron Buxton suffered a hip strain. But the first-rounder wasn’t seeing the results he was looking for, and over the weekend, the Twins made the decision to option the rookie to Triple-A St. Paul.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had a conversation with Larnach to deliver the news, and Larnach was disappointed, but receptive to what the manager was saying, Baldelli said. Sending him down to St. Paul, the Twins believe, will give Larnach a chance to get regular at-bats, relax and try to work things out at the plate.

“He’s a very good player. He’s a good young hitter. One of the better young hitters that you’re going to see in professional baseball right now,” Baldelli said. “With that comes having different approaches, learning how guys are going to pitch you, and then figuring out what to do with it. Those are things he has spent a lot of time thinking about and diving into, and I think now he can go apply some of those things at the Triple-A level.”

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Larnach was hitting .233 with a .322 on-base percentage and .350 slugging percentage with seven home runs in 79 games for the Twins. He had struck out in 35 percent of his plate appearances.

He’ll now return to a level that he appeared at just briefly. Larnach played in 43 games at Double-A in 2019, but he did not play in a game last season due to the pandemic and had appeared in just three games at Triple-A when he was summoned early this season.

“He’s a guy that has been very, very impressive to me and our entire staff. Along the way, we’ve seen a lot of things that he can do with the bat in his hands,” Baldelli said. “We didn’t get a chance to see all of those things this time around. We saw some of them, but I think there’s still a lot there to tap into, and he’s going to go and … get back into the swing of things and find it and then we’ll see him again.”

Before being sent down, Larnach said third baseman Josh Donaldson and the coaching staff were among those providing support and advice during a period that he called “the most frustrating time,” of his life.

Now, he’ll have a chance to get back on track in Triple-A.

“I’m going to keep grinding my tail off to get where I need to be,” Larnach said in early-August. “Just because I’m up here, it doesn’t mean I’m satisfied. It’s actually been the opposite. I’ve been pretty frustrated with myself. At the same time, I’ve been putting my head down like never before just to try to get to where I know I need to be.”

Gordon returns

Larnach’s option has opened the door for the Twins to recall another first-round pick, Nick Gordon, who is also looking to establish himself in the majors.

For Gordon, his ability to do so will likely hinge upon his ability to move around the field. The Twins optioned Gordon to Triple-A on Aug. 5 and since then, Gordon has appeared at second base, third base, shortstop, left field and center field.

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Though most of those positions are unfamiliar to him — Gordon primarily played shortstop in the minors with some second base sprinkled in — being able to play all over the field and potentially appear in a super utility role should help open up opportunities for him.

“Whatever I’m needed to do, as long as I get a chance to get on the field and show my abilities, show my talent, I have no other wishes,” Gordon said. “(Just) help the team win and whatever is need from me, I’ll do it to the best of my ability.”

Briefly

Baldelli said Byron Buxton (hand), who left briefly to attend to a personal matter, will return on Tuesday and work out. After that, they will make an assessment as to the next steps in his progression, which could be a rehab stint in St. Paul.

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