Nelson Cruz held out as precaution; Jake Cave has groin strain; Kyle Gibson close to return

MINNEAPOLIS — Nelson Cruz said his left wrist felt good enough for him to play Saturday night against Cleveland, but the Twins’ designated hitter was not in the lineup.

Cruz, who has had two stints on the injured list this season because of issues with the wrist, left Friday’s game in the 10th inning after experiencing pain in the wrist during an at-bat in the fifth inning.

Cruz missed 15 games from mid-May until early June after initially straining the wrist and then went back on the IL and missed nine games in August. That came after he ruptured the ECU tendon in his left wrist on Aug. 8 against Cleveland at Target Field. That caused initial concerns that he would be sidelined for an extended period, but the rupture actually relieved the pain Cruz had been experiencing and he was able to return sooner than many expected.

“Nellie is not in the lineup tonight,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said before Saturday’s game. “In basketball it would be a coach’s decision. He said he was good to play. He wasn’t overly comfortable last night swinging the bat. He’s going to get treated and spend some time in the training room, making sure he lets this calm down a little bit. He could be available (Saturday). … Slowing him down just a hair might make sense.”

The 39-year-old Cruz, who said he still experiences pain when he “swings awkwardly,” was ejected from Saturday’s game by plate umpire Laz Diaz after he objected to a strike three call on first baseman C.J. Cron to end the sixth inning. Cruz yelled at Diaz from the Twins dugout and displayed just how far outside he thought the pitch was to Cron. The Twins beat the Indians, 5-3.

Cruz said the pain he experienced Friday, “was inflammation more than anything.” He received treatment on the wrist after Friday’s game.

Cruz said he wasn’t that worried that he would miss substantial time. “I think for some reason, I created a lot of scar tissue there, with the tendon starting to detach, and the swing just tore the other part,” he said “I guess I have to deal with that.”

Baldelli said it would make sense that it’s scar tissue breaking that is now causing issues for Cruz. “That would make a lot of sense from all of our medical people, training staff, doctors,” he said.”That’s pretty much where everyone’s mind went, and it makes sense. That being said, sending him back out there the day after he was feeling a little of discomfort, I don’t think we had to do that.”

Signed as a free agent by Minnesota during the offseason, Cruz is hitting .305/.384/.627 with 35 home runs and 92 RBIs.

Baldelli said that outfielder Jake Cave, who departed Friday’s game in the fifth inning after feeling tightness in his groin while running after a single, had an MRI on Saturday and has a mild groin strain. Cave was not available to play Saturday as Luis Arraez started in left field and Eddie Rosario started in right.

Meanwhile, starter Kyle Gibson, who has been on the injured list because of ulcerative colitis, is getting close to returning. Baldelli said Gibson could start in the series against Washington that begins Tuesday at Target Field.

“Gibby has been doing well,” Baldelli said.”He’s feeling better. This isn’t something you just snap out of, or it is not like it is a cold and two days (later) you are feeling better. This is going to be a little bit of a process. Again, it’s something he’s dealt with for pretty much the entire year, at different levels. I think he is doing well now and is responding well to getting a few days off of his feet.”

Wetmore: How will Twins pick up the pieces after Michael Pineda’s suspension?