Josh Donaldson has not been placed on the injured list and the Twins describe the third baseman’s right calf tightness as day-to-day.
But the Twins aren’t sure if their prized free-agent acquisition will be back in action sooner or later.
“I think this is one of those situations where we’re going to treat it today,” manager Rocco Baldelli said Saturday. “We’re going to keep an eye on him in the training room getting his stuff done, and then we’re going to know a lot more in the next 24 to 48 hours and know when he can get back out there.”
Donaldson’s history with calf injuries doesn’t provide encouraging clues.
During his injury-plagued 2018 with the Blue Jays, he missed nearly a month because of a sore shoulder. But a left calf strain sidelined him from May 29 to Sept. 10. He was traded from Toronto to Cleveland during his recovery and returned in time to appear in the playoffs.
In 2017, Donaldson landed on the injured list because of a right calf strain — the same leg that’s giving him trouble now — and missed 38 games.
Perhaps his familiarity with the injury prompted him to leave Friday’s game before he injured himself even worse.
“He didn’t seem to have much visually any issue moving around,” Baldelli said. “He was out there in the field, made a play or two out there, kind of looked OK coming off the field. But he knew that it tightened up. It’s not something we’re going to push. When he’s back and ready to go a hundred percent, we’ll have him back out there.”
Marwin Gonzalez started at third in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Cleveland and figures to get most of the playing time there. But Baldelli also mentioned Ehire Adrianza and even Luis Arraez could fill in while Donaldson recovers. Miguel Sano has focused on perfecting first base since the original spring training opened and is not considered an option to move back to his old position.
Littell on IL
Righthander Zack Littell, who has made two appearances, landed on the 10-day IL because of a left hamstring strain.
“Well, Zack came out of his last outing with just a little bit of a hamstring tightness,” Baldelli said. “You could call it an injury. You could call it just a minor incident. Really, what it comes down to is you probably don’t want to have to put a guy on the IL for something like this, but it probably would have been a couple of days before he would have seen game action again.”
Plus, why wait a few days for a hamstring to heal when you can just have someone from the St. Paul camp head for Target Field? The Twins did that by bringing over hard-throwing righthander Jorge Alcala.
Alcala, acquired from Houston as part of the Ryan Pressly trade in July 2018, had a 5.87 ERA at Class AA Pensacola last season but still got promoted to Class AAA Rochester, where he made all of five appearances before getting called up by the Twins in September. Alcala, 25, got roughed up a little bit during intrasquad games but improved late. In his final outing he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, showing off a fastball that hit 99 miles per hour on the radar gun as well as a 90-mph slider. He pounded his fist into his glove as he left the field.
“We know he has a big arm, and some added depth to the breaking ball was apparent,” Baldelli said.
Bring in the heads
So far, the Twins’ “Big Head” promotion has attracted around 1,300 fans. For $80, $40 for season ticket holders, fans can have a 2½-foot head shot placed on a lower-level seat at Target Field during games.
The Twins kicked off the experience last week by placing 80 pictures of former players, and a few current and former broadcasters, behind home plate.
The first wave of big heads will be placed around the stadium in time for the Twins’ homestand that starts on Aug. 14. A portion of the proceeds from the sales will go to the Twins Community Fund.