Twins get González back; Cron may need rest

September 17th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Rocco Baldelli gladly wrote 's name into Monday’s lineup as the American League Central leaders returned home.

But such is the case recently for Minnesota, the Twins got back one key piece while learning another might need to miss time of his own due to injury.

González made his return Monday to start a series against the Chicago White Sox after missing 18 games with an abdominal injury, but Baldelli admitted the team will need to back off first baseman to give his bruised thumb time to heal.

“I think we’re at a point where we might slow him down a little bit because he’s gotten to this point in his career by probably playing through a lot of injuries, and this has been a challenging one for him to play through,” Baldelli said of Cron. “No one can play with what he’s playing with right now and swing the bat with the intensity that you need to swing the bat with to play at this level. I think we’re still going to see him out there at times, but I think pulling him back a little bit I think makes sense.”

Baldelli said Cron -- who’s hitting .253 with 24 home runs and 76 RBIs in 119 games -- could see time as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement. But the Twins want to give his thumb injury (termed a bone bruise by Minnesota’s executive vice president and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey) some rest.

Baldelli noted that they gave Cron time to heal earlier this season and he returned feeling well before aggravating the bruise. Minnesota’s series win in Cleveland helped open their division lead to 4 1/2 games entering Monday.

“It’s something that I know that the only recourse here in the longer term is just rest and time,” Falvey said. “You'll see from time to time when he hits a foul ball and struggles with it, but he has battled through and has continued to play. Rocco has found some spots for him to get some rest during this stretch and now with Marwin coming back we can gain a couple of extra days for him from time to time.”

González has been out since Aug. 27 with the abdominal injury, adding to the Twins’ lengthy list of injuries.

“It was frustrating to be out for this long,” González said, adding that it’s the first time he’s had an abdominal injury. “I wanted to be back a little sooner than this. But everything is done for my own good. I let it heal and, obviously, I’m going to be kind of scared the first couple games. But I feel good.”

González has hit .263 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in 108 games while playing every position in the infield as well as left and right field.

“He fixes a lot of things all by himself, so having him out there is really important,” Baldelli said. “We’re going to continue to ... we’ll keep an eye on him like most guys that are coming back from injuries and we’ll monitor how he’s doing on a day-to-day basis, but he seems to be doing really well right now.”

Other injury notes

• Utility player Ehire Adrianza is hopeful he’ll start swinging this weekend as he recovers from an oblique injury. Adrianza said he started doing strengthening exercises on Monday.

“I know my body pretty well,” Adrianza said. “I know it’s not as bad as expected. I think, like I say, I’m going to play before the season ends.”

• Outfielder Max Kepler was out of Monday’s lineup as the team hoped to give him another day off as he plays through left shoulder soreness. He could return Tuesday.

• Falvey said the team is making no further determination on reliever Sam Dyson’s status until they hear a report from noted doctor Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

“I think you never know what the report is going to be so, at some point, we need to wait and see what that is,” Falvey said. “But what I would say is that relievers have time down over the course of the season, sometimes a couple of weeks stretches. If we were to get a favorable report out of that I'm sure we could figure out something like [returning this season].”