MINNEAPOLIS — Max Kepler says that he’s doing “everything” in preparation for returning from a scap injury that has held him out of the Twins lineup in the latter stages of the regular season.
The Twins’ ultimate goal will be a World Series, not a prize for finishing the regular season with their ‘A’ lineup, so perhaps they were just playing it safe.
“I’m always excited to play the game of baseball,” Kepler said. “Regardless if it’s spring training, rec league or playoffs, it’s always fun — I’m super hyped.”
“I’m excited, I’m all positive,” he said of making his return for the postseason. “It’s just special.”
Kepler said he hit, ran, stood in the batter’s box against live pitching, lifted weights, and then received ice tub/sauna “contrast” therapy, he said. And the rain-soaked, tarp-covered field in downtown Minneapolis didn’t prevent Kepler from playing a brief game of catch with Mitch Garver.
Kepler experienced a breakout season in the first year of his brand new contract with the Twins. The sweet-swinging lefty hit .252/.336/.519 with 36 home runs before the shoulder injury slowed his season at the end. His inclusion on the postseason roster would be a big lift for the Twins.
Rocco Baldelli said that his rookie second baseman is “doing really well” but declined to offer any “public thought” on whether Luis Arraez will make the ALDS roster after spraining his ankle the final weekend of the season.
“He’s already doing significantly better than he was,” Baldelli said. “He was not weight-bearing Day 1; I haven’t seen him today but I’ve heard he’s moving around, walking around, he’s in the pool a lot — he’s undergone a lot of treatment. We’re putting him through the ringer right now to give ourselves an opportunity to get him back.”
Adrianza, oblique, said that he’s feeling 100% healthy and ready to help the club if he’s asked to do so. But he said that he hasn’t been told anything about the ALDS roster and was respectful to the fact that the decision is up to the Twins.
He hit against the high-speed pitching machine, he said, and reported no worse for the wear. If they want him to play, he said, he’ll be available. But having not played for a few weeks in a roster puzzle that is already complicated with players returning from injury, it’s possible that the do-everything infielder will have a difficult time getting onto the ALDS roster.