Rosario, Sanó, Gonzalez out for opener

Club recalls Blankenhorn, options Smeltzer

September 15th, 2020

The Twins were shorthanded on Monday as they entered an important four-game series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, with (left elbow contusion), (neck stiffness) and (non-COVID illness) out of the starting lineup. Manager Rocco Baldelli indicated that Rosario's and Sanó's conditions should resolve themselves in the short-term.

"They're feeling all right," Baldelli said. "It took us several hours at the ballpark today to fill out our lineup and to see who was going to be available. We had a lot of guys to check on. ... Today was one of those days where we spent some time on it, tested everyone out, had everyone in the training room getting looked at."

With Gonzalez's late scratch from the starting lineup seemingly serving as a tipping point, the Twins recalled versatile 24-year-old from the taxi squad for his first stint in the Major Leagues. Blankenhorn, the No. 18 prospect in the organization per MLB Pipeline, was added to the 40-man roster last offseason and is able to fill in at second base, third base and corner outfield, depending on the Twins' needs with their banged-up roster.

Left-hander was optioned off the 28-man roster in a corresponding move.

Rosario suffered a scare in Sunday's series finale against Cleveland, when he exited during the eighth inning following a collision with in left-center field. His left arm collided with Buxton's chest as they both converged on a fly ball, and Rosario remained doubled over before he was escorted off the field.

Baldelli said Rosario could be starting again in a day or so after continuing to undergo treatments.

Sanó was also removed before the end of Sunday's game with a stiff neck and still couldn't turn his head enough to play by pregame Monday, Baldelli said.

"His is more of an injury that any of us could be dealing with at any moment," Baldelli said. "But as far as hitting and throwing, having trouble turning his head has been kind of a little bit of a bummer and more of a pain than anything else."

Considering the relatively fragile state of the Twins' roster and the proximity of the postseason, Rosario took it upon himself to chat with Buxton on Saturday following the center fielder's collision with the wall, telling him to take it easy in the field. Even so, Baldelli said that's not a more general conversation he's having with players on his roster at this time, outside of specific spots with players who might be dealing with light physical issues.

"I think that's an occasional conversation we'll talk about at different points in the game with different players, but it's not an overriding discussion," Baldelli said. "Baseball players go out there and they have to be able to compete at a high level. When you ask guys to not compete at that high level that they're accustomed to most of the time, you might run into more issues trying to do that. That's not something you also want to say to our team."

Blankenhorn doesn't quite have Gonzalez's extreme versatility, but he has 210 career Minor League appearances at second base and 142 at third base to go with 31 in left field. He's also spent minimal time at first base and shortstop. He hit .277/.321/.466 with 19 homers, 22 doubles and 11 stolen bases in 108 games last season across Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Double-A Pensacola.