Kepler (shoulder) feeling good about progress

September 24th, 2019

DETROIT -- participated in a successful pregame workout on the field on Tuesday, including fielding and batting practice, and he said that his plan is to return to the lineup no later than the beginning of a possible postseason series.

Kepler, who also hit against a velocity machine on Sunday, said he has been feeling good about his progress over the past several days and is feeling better about the status of the rhomboid strain in his left shoulder area.

"We say this all the time, but you can tell by a guy’s demeanor and what he wants to do when he shows up to the field as kind of a telling sign of where he’s at," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "Kep’s feeling better. You can tell by what he’s been doing over the last few days, but hopefully we can keep ramping it up."

Kepler hopes to see some pitching before a potential American League Division Series, but he is also focused on making sure he doesn't rush and hit a setback in his recovery. He last hit in the Twins' Sept. 14 doubleheader against Cleveland at Progressive Field and appeared as a pinch-runner on Saturday.

"I'd also like to get back in the swing of seeing live pitching," Kepler said. "I've also heard the option of getting some pitchers to throw live in those four days [between the regular season and ALDS] where we're off. But in the end it comes down to: Do I feel ready to do it?"

"I’d like to get him out there [in the regular season]," Baldelli said. "But what we’d like to do and what works best for him and keeping him healthy and feeling good may or may not match up. ... We’re literally waiting to see how he feels, how he responds to each thing we ask him to do, and there’s really no other way around operating like that right now with Max."

Gonzalez scratched with oblique tightness

was scratched from Tuesday's lineup against the Tigers as a precaution for right oblique tightness and is considered day to day, the club announced on Tuesday. Gonzalez was originally slated to bat fifth and play first base, and he was replaced in the lineup by .

Gonzalez had already missed 18 games at the end of August and the first half of September with a strain in his right oblique/abdominal area that was originally sustained Aug. 27. He appeared to feel something in the oblique again during a swing upon his return and was examined by medical staff but continued to play.

The 30-year-old hit .280/.308/.320 with seven RBIs in his six appearances since his return to the field. In that time, he made five starts at first base and one in right field.

Garver not expected to miss much time with hip impingement

was examined on Monday in Minneapolis and was diagnosed with a hip impingement sustained during Sunday's series finale against the Royals. He will get some rest and treatment on the area, according to Baldelli, and is not expected to miss much time.

Garver indicated that he could be available for pinch-hitting duty if needed in Tuesday's contest against the Tigers. He said that he was examined as a precaution and feels relatively healthy other than tiredness from the length of the regular season. He said that he did not feel pain in the hip while catching or swinging.

"It's just the heavier workload," Garver said. "Off-days, you're going to catch anyways at some point. It's totally fine to do it earlier in the year, and sometimes, it just catches up to you a little bit, with the travel and the sleep and certain factors like that. From here on out, obviously, we're prioritizing rest, but even more so, making sure that we're ready."

Worth noting

took infield drills again on Tuesday but is not ready to progress to swinging at full capacity, according to Baldelli.

was examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Monday, but the Twins did not have any significant updates to offer about the right-hander's status before Tuesday's game.