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Good news for Cruz as MRI shows no damage

Twins recall Duffey from Rochester, option Cave
@dohyoungpark
May 13, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received good news on Monday, when an MRI of Nelson Cruz's sore left wrist did not show any damage to the area. Cruz said that he has been icing the wrist since the pain started flaring up on Monday and expects to swing a bat again

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received good news on Monday, when an MRI of Nelson Cruz's sore left wrist did not show any damage to the area. Cruz said that he has been icing the wrist since the pain started flaring up on Monday and expects to swing a bat again either Tuesday or Wednesday. He also expects to avoid a stint on the injured list.

The 38-year-old designated hitter said that ice helped the pain subside overnight.

"That was what I was looking for, so thank God everything went well," Cruz said.

Cruz began feeling pain after a swinging strike in Sunday's series finale against Detroit. In the fourth inning, he swung and missed at a 2-0 offering from Tigers starter Daniel Norris and stepped out of the batter's box while flexing the wrist in discomfort. He took his next at-bat in the sixth, but the Twins pinch-hit for him in a critical situation in the seventh inning.

Cruz dealt with pain in his left wrist on swings and misses at the end of the 2016 season, when he was with the Mariners, and played through the pain, as Seattle had been in contention for a playoff spot. He said the wrist had not bothered him between then and this season.

"That was different," he said. "That was the end of the year, so you’re focusing on, 'I’ve got 10 games,' or whatever how many games you have. This is a different story. We've got a lot of games to go. You don’t want to be dealing with it for a long time."

Manager Rocco Baldelli said that the injury will continue to be monitored on a day-by-day basis, but neither he nor Cruz appear concerned that this would be anything other than a short-term setback.

"It is what it is," Cruz said. "So I have to be a good kid. Just be patient."

Mitch Garver made his first start of the season at DH in Cruz's place on Monday. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop was out of the lineup for a second straight day while dealing with soreness in his non-throwing shoulder, but Baldelli said Schoop would be available off the bench if needed.

Twins recall Duffey, option Cave to Triple-A Rochester

The Twins expanded back to a 13-man pitching staff on Monday by optioning outfielder Jake Cave to Triple-A Rochester and recalling reliever Tyler Duffey, who had served as the 26th man on the roster for Saturday's doubleheader against the Tigers.

"Getting through the weekend, the doubleheader actually does change some things," Baldelli said. "You’re forced to cover more innings, simply, and we were in a spot where I think Duff fits well with what we need right now."

The Twins used six of their nine available relievers in that doubleheader, including Duffey, who looked sharp in striking out the side in a scoreless ninth inning to close out the Twins' 8-3 victory in the nightcap. His four-seam fastball, which has averaged 91-93 mph over the last several seasons, touched 95.5 mph in that appearance.

Duffey said that the difference was that he started throwing his four-seam fastball more like he used to throw his two-seamer, which generated a better spin rate and better velocity on the pitch.

"He threw the fastball where he wanted to," Baldelli said. "The pitch had very good life. Obviously, the velo was good. The pitch had good life. We know he can spin the ball. It's about consistently working with that breaking ball and commanding it well. Everything you would want Duff to do, he did in that outing."

The 28-year-old Duffey had a 1.32 ERA in seven appearances for Triple-A Rochester this season, with 22 strikeouts and five walks.

Cave was hitting 9-for-41 this season with two doubles and three RBIs for the Twins, but with Marwin Gonzalez and Willians Astudillo both healthy and able to serve as backup outfielders, the Twins wanted to give him a chance to more regularly see right-handed pitching in Triple-A.

"It’s tough, because the last thing we want to do is send Jake to Triple-A, but we also want him to play and we want him to get at-bats," Baldelli said. "He still goes out to compete and does everything you would ever want, so tough situation as far as Jake Cave, but I’m sure we’ll see him back here."

#SanoWatch

Miguel Sanó played a full game at third base and went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and an RBI for Rochester on Sunday in his second Triple-A game. He is expected to play another full game on Tuesday, when the Red Wings begin a six-game road trip.

Sano's return should be expected in the next week due to the procedural considerations. His rehab assignment officially began on April 30, and position players have a 20-day limit on the length of rehab assignments, meaning the latest Sano could remain in the Minors would be May 20.

Baldelli previously indicated that the Twins wanted to give Sano an extended look in Triple-A to help him readjust to playing regularly against higher-caliber pitching.

"I'm not going to say he's staying or not staying until the end of the rehab assignment," Baldelli said. "But the at-bats do matter. I think it's important for him to get those at-bats at the Triple-A level. We could see him before the end of the rehab assignment, but I think there's still a chance he stays until the end and sees those pitches."

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.