'I'm ready to play tomorrow': Correa avoids serious injury on hit by pitch

June 27th, 2024

PHOENIX -- All the good feelings of a blowout getaway victory, a vintage eye-popping Byron Buxton power-speed game and the debut of the organization’s top pitching prospect gone -- just like that.

The excitement vanished in an instant when took a 94 mph fastball to his right arm in the top of the seventh inning, dropped his bat and started sadly shaking his head at manager Rocco Baldelli and athletic trainer Masa Abe as they emerged from the dugout to fetch Correa as he exited the Twins’ 13-6 victory on Thursday at Chase Field.

But somehow, Correa actually appears to be totally fine, with only a bruise to show for it -- the best possible news after the shock of the moment.

“I’m ready to play tomorrow,” Correa said after the game.

Wait, really?

“Yes, I’ll be in the lineup tomorrow,” Correa insisted.

X-rays had revealed no fracture and simply a right wrist contusion, as the Twins seemingly avoided a potentially massive blow to an offense that finally looked to be hitting its stride and showing its sky-high potential at full strength.

“It looks like we're going to be able to get past this,” Baldelli said. “It's never what you want to see. Could have been ugly, but it was apparently not.”

It was easy to assume the worst, because the Twins’ shortstop -- in the midst of a potential late surge towards the All-Star Game -- had immediately taken himself out of the game while supporting that right arm and elevating it with his left hand.

He was then seen slamming his helmet to the bench in frustration in the dugout as he made his way to the clubhouse, in an indication of his perception of the severity of the situation. He said his hand had immediately gone numb, which finally subsided a bit once he entered the training room in the clubhouse.

“You know the first thing, you think the worst right away, right?” Correa said. “Then when you get the good news, obviously you’re very relieved.”

Correa had reached base in all five of his plate appearances as part of the Twins’ offensive explosion on Thursday, including a single, two walks, a run-scoring catcher’s interference and that hit-by-pitch, which came on a sinker that ran too far inside from D-backs right-hander Bryce Jarvis.

And that had been a continuation of a seemingly unstoppable month for the shortstop, who had been hitting .423/.471/.628 for an 1.100 OPS since June 6 entering Thursday’s game, which had raised his season average to .306 and OPS to .862. He’d entered the game tied for third in the American League in hits this month, with 34.

That would have made it all the more painful for the Twins to lose Correa for any substantial period, but they feel fortunate to seemingly have avoided that.

Though Baldelli didn’t share Correa’s immediate confidence that the shortstop would be right back in the lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Mariners, he did echo the optimism -- and they’ll take it.

“We'll see how the swelling is and things like that, and that'll probably decide what the next day or two look like, but it's, relatively speaking, good news,” Baldelli said.