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Max Kepler, Luis Arraez depart Twins game because of injuries; Alex Avila scratched from lineup

Max Kepler
Minnesota Twins’ Max Kepler celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins got Byron Buxton back from the injured list on Tuesday and Josh Donaldson returned on Wednesday. Unfortunately, for the Twins, they might be adding a player or three to the IL.
Right fielder Max Kepler and second baseman Luis Arraez left the Twins’ 8-1 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday at Target Field and catcher Alex Avila was scratched from the original lineup because of lower back tightness. Manager Rocco Baldelli said both Kepler and Arraez will be checked by Twins doctors. The team will have Thursday off before beginning a five-game series against the Tigers with a doubleheader on Friday at Target Field.
“We’re going to wait and see before we can say anything else,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I think, for both guys, these are injuries that we can manage and/or won’t keep them off the field for very long. I don’t see either of them as a long-term concern this year.”
Arraez departed in the sixth inning after his fly ball to left field was dropped by Eloy Jimenez. Arraez aggravated a knee issue that has bothered him since the season started and limped to first before being replaced by Ehire Adrianza. “What Louie is dealing with is something very much related to what he’s been dealing with (all season),” Baldelli said. “Basically, patella, generally in that area, soreness. We’re going to wait and see.”
Kepler left in the third inning because of tightness in his left groin. He pulled up a bit as he scored from first base on Josh Donaldson’s two-run double to right-center in the bottom of the second inning. Kepler also left the game a week ago in Cleveland after fouling a ball off the top of his right foot.
Kepler, who did not play on Tuesday night as the White Sox started lefthander Dallas Keuchel, was 1-for-2 before he departed. He singled to lead off the game and reached on an error in the second inning. Kepler was slashing .215/.319/.430 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs in 34 games entering Wednesday. Marwin Gonzalez replaced Kepler in right field.
Baldelli did not seem concerned about Avila, saying he thought the veteran catcher probably could have played but with a day off coming up the Twins wanted to get him two days of rest. That put rookie catcher Ryan Jeffers in the lineup.
If Arraez is sidelined, the Twins could need another infielder. But utility player Ildemaro Vargas won’t be an immediate option. He was designated for release or assignment Wednesday to make room for Donaldson on the 28-man roster. Vargas, who was acquired on Aug. 11 in a trade with Arizona, appeared in 10 games for the Twins, hitting .227 (5-for-22) with one double, one triple, two RBIs and a walk.