Kirilloff's left ankle sprain a 'day-to-day issue'

June 11th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' outfield injuries had already long since spiraled out of control. And somehow, it appeared to get even worse on Thursday before the Twins received some encouraging news.

Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, exited in the second inning of the Twins' 7-5 walk-off win against the Yankees with a low-grade left ankle sprain, but he appears to have avoided serious injury.

"I think he’s going to be fine," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "Will he need a day or two? I think that’s possible. ... We’ll keep checking on him. We’re going to treat it, and I’ll think of it as kind of a day-to-day issue."

Kirilloff was slow to get up after falling in right field while attempting to play Gio Urshela's triple off the wall in the first inning. He retreated to the warning track in pursuit of the ball, before he turned around to play the carom. The ball took a high bounce off the dirt, and Kirilloff fell to the ground as he turned around to chase it.

Kirilloff remained in the game and singled in the bottom of the first, but he was lifted before the Yankees came to the plate in the top of the second.

It's a good thing that Byron Buxton could soon return from his rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul, barring any setbacks, because the Twins' outfield depth is almost fully depleted.

Rob Refsnyder strained his left hamstring and Kyle Garlick sustained a sports hernia on Tuesday, leaving only two healthy outfielders on the Twins' active roster -- plus infielder Nick Gordon, who entered Wednesday's game in center field. Gordon played center field in the ninth inning of Wednesday's loss, which he noted was the first time he'd played the outfield since he was 12 years old.

The relatively encouraging news regarding Kirilloff's condition is a fortunate development, considering Buxton (hip strain), Max Kepler (left hamstring strain), Luis Arraez (right shoulder strain) and Jake Cave (stress reaction in low back) are currently sidelined in addition to Refsnyder and Garlick.

Buxton's return is also expected soon after he hit two homers and recorded an outfield assist in his second rehab game for Triple-A St. Paul on Thursday. Arraez is expected to begin a rehab assignment in the coming days after taking batting practice on the field for the first time on Wednesday.

Kirilloff was hitting .261 with four homers and 18 RBIs in his first MLB season, having previously missed 16 games in May with a sprained right wrist.