Kirilloff, Buxton updates; Sanó easing back

Twins place Smeltzer (left elbow inflammation) on IL, recall RHP Anderson

May 13th, 2021

The Twins expect and to progress to swinging in the next few days as both outfielders continue their gradual recoveries from injuries that have impacted the club's outfield depth.

Kirilloff, who is dealing with a sprained right wrist, has continued with his hand strengthening exercises and has been cleared for weight room activities, according to a team spokesman. Minnesota expects him to progress to swinging a bat on Friday, when the club returns for its next homestand.

Manager Rocco Baldelli had previously indicated that Kirilloff's response to swinging a bat and increased baseball activity could dictate his next steps -- whether in a continued progression to the field or the possibility of surgery.

"It’s really going to come down to his soreness and any inflammation that’s in there, and getting that out of there before we move forward."

Baldelli said on Tuesday. "He’s obviously pretty close to where he’s going to be, but if they can treat it, making him feel a little better and put him in a good spot before he starts swinging the bat, I think that makes sense to me."

Buxton is further behind in his recovery from a Grade 2 hip strain, but he has been cleared to begin throwing and work with the strength and conditioning staff on his movement. The club expects him to progress to hitting in the cage in the next day or two.

The center fielder has been doing most of his work with light rehab and exercises in the training room to this point.

Considering the current state of Minnesota's offense, the team would get a needed boost from even one of the two returning. Entering Wednesday, the Twins had been held to three or fewer runs in five of six games since Kirilloff last appeared.

Kirilloff, ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, led the team in hard-hit rate and average exit velocity in a small sample size before his injury. Buxton had been playing at an MVP level before he strained his hip while running out a ground ball, leading the team in hits, doubles, homers, total bases, steals and OPS at the time of his injury.

Sanó's usage could remain measured

Miguel Sanó is recovered from his right hamstring strain, but the Twins remain focused on picking spots for the slugger to find his footing at the plate amid a brutal .129/.299/.226 start to the season.

Due to Kirilloff's absence, Sanó started the first four games following his activation from the injured list, going 3-for-17 (.176) with nine strikeouts and a pair of walks. Willians Astudillo started at first base on Tuesday as the Twins emerged from consecutive off-days.

"Where he’s at right now is he just came back from an injury, to be honest, and he’s finding himself," Baldelli said. "We’re going to find good spots for him to get out there, get his at-bats and get back into the swing of things, and hopefully get him on a roll."

Baldelli continued to emphasize that the team's focus remains on helping Sanó catch up to hittable fastballs, as he's only slugging .375 against heaters this season following a .598 mark last season and a .729 clip in 2019.

"Miguel rides some monster waves in what he does out on the field," Baldelli said. "I’ve seen him go from struggling a little bit to being the best hitter that you’ll ever see for a long stretch of time. And is there always a direct explanation for how he got there? Not all the time."

Twins place Smeltzer on IL, recall Anderson

Left-handed reliever Devin Smeltzer was placed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday with left elbow inflammation and right-hander Shaun Anderson was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul.

Smeltzer was with the Twins as a long reliever and hadn't pitched in his most recent stint on the roster after he was recalled last Thursday. Anderson is up with the club for the second time this season, but he still hasn't made his Minnesota debut after he was acquired from the Giants in the offseason trade that sent LaMonte Wade Jr. to San Francisco.

Anderson made two appearances for St. Paul this season, with three strikeouts and a walk in three scoreless innings.