KANSAS CITY, MO – The Twins only need to look at who their first baseman is these days to understand what can happen when a foul ball strikes a catcher in the facemask.
So they are relieved that Mitch Garver has shown no concussion symptoms after leaving Wednesday’s game in the second inning after Luke Voit’s foul ball found him. Garver was not in the lineup on Thursday; Chris Gimenez started behind the plate.
The plan for Thursday was for Garver to focus on cardio work and not swing a bat.
“He woke up with a little headache this morning, not surprisingly,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We will do what we can to post-check him, if you will.
“We’re hoping to just try to protect him in the short term just because of the blow that he took, not because of any symptoms or anything like that. But so far so good.”
Former All-Star catcher Joe Mauer is a first baseman now because of a concussion. And, in May of this season, he hit his head while diving for a foul ball. A sore neck became a concussion a few days later, and the Twins are aware that one day doesn’t mean Garver is out of the woods yet.
Garver also had to be checked for a concussion in April when he was struck in the helmet by Baltimore’s Manny Machado during his follow-through on a swing.
“That’s why we will watch it closely,” Molitor said. “He’s got a history, which is part of the equation when guys are going through stuff like that. We were relieved last night, after he ran through the initial protocol, that there were no red flags for us here in the short term. Hopeful that continues.”
The Twins can use Gimenez and Willians Astudillo behind the plate until Garver, who’s batting .260 with seven homers and 39 RBI, is ready.
Eddie Rosario has not totally recovered from a sore left quad suffered Aug. 30 in Cleveland, but the Twins are willing to let him play through the remaining discomfort.
It could be risky if Rosario pushes it, though.
“We know it is not going to be all out in terms of his ability to run right now,” Molitor said, “but I think those quad injuries, if you are smart, you can navigate your way through a game without risking reinjury or further injury.”
Rosario was 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Wednesday but was back in the lineup on Thursday.
“His desire and people learning how to play through different things is probably good for him, in the long run,” Molitor said.
It’s unclear when Rosario will return to the outfield.
With him at DH, there’s no way to ease Miguel Sano back in the lineup once he’s ready.
And Mauer also will need DH days before the season ends as well.
Rotation of coaches
Edgar Varela, the Twins minor league field coordinator, recently wrapped up a stint as an extra coach with the major league team. He’s the first of several coaches scheduled to work with the Twins before the season is over.
Class AA Chattanooga manager Tommy Watkins will join the team next weekend when their road trip takes them to Oakland.
He will be followed by minor league pitching coordinator Pete Maki, Class A Cedar Rapids manager Toby Gardenhire and Class AAA Rochester pitching coach Stu Cliburn.
Each year, the Twins bring up extra coaches in September once their minor league seasons are completed.
Sano (lower left leg) got in some running and took some grounders before Thursday’s game, but there is no timetable for his return. Molitor doubted he would be ready to return to action this weekend.