Lucky break: Max Kepler will get much-needed time off to rest bruised knee

MINNEAPOLIS — Max Kepler was near the top of the list of Twins who were snubbed from the AL All-Star team when it was announced a few weeks back. On Sunday, Kepler had to consider himself fortunate that he didn’t make it.

The Twins right fielder left the Twins’ 4-1, 11-inning loss to Texas in the 10th inning after driving a ball off the right field fence but making no attempt to turn it into a double. Manager Rocco Baldelli and head athletic trainer Tony Leo came out to check on Kepler and soon thereafter he was removed for a pinch-runner.

Baldelli said after the game that Kepler continues to deal with a bruised right knee that he suffered on May 24 against the Angels in Anaheim.

“Max is doing OK,” Baldelli said. “This is something that Max has been battling and just another example of our guys going out there and playing at far less than 100 percent. He just got to a point where him being out there running the bases probably was not in the best interest of us winning the game or him, just his general health. He needed to get off of his feet and we needed to get someone out there that actually could run 100 percent and be able to do it.”

Kepler entered Sunday hitting .209/.243/.388 with three home runs and six RBIs in his past 15 games. He then went 1-for-5 against the Rangers and finished the series with three hits in 14 at-bats. He is hitting .263/.337/.523 with 21 home runs and 55 RBIs.

Baldelli expressed confidence that Kepler will be fine after the All-Star break. “We think this, like some of the other things we’ve been dealing with, will be cleared up by getting four days off your feet,” Baldelli said.