La Velle E. Neal III
See more of the story

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli knows it is going to happen. There will be a game this season in which one of his catchers gets injured, forcing him to move the other catcher from designated hitter. And that means the pitcher's spot will have to bat in the game.

There will be a big commotion over him getting caught in a lineup squeeze, but Baldelli has stats to back him up.

Ryan Jeffers currently is in the form of his life, leading the American League in slugging percentage, although he went 0-for-3 with a walk while starting behind the plate in Wednesday's 4-0 loss to the Yankees. He surged at the plate when the Twins desperately needed offense. Now that he's taken a starring role in the Twins attack, Baldelli has started Jeffers as DH 12 times this season to keep the offense humming. Christian Vázquez has made 22 starts behind the plate and one as the DH.

So Jeffers and Vázquez have been in the same starting lineup 13 times this season, and this is going to continue going forward with Jeffers' All-Star-level start to the season. It would help if Vázquez could produce a tad more than the .175 batting average he brought into Wednesday game. Signing Vázquez to a three-year, $30 million deal was not a wise investment, as he is no longer a No. 1 catcher. His role now is to start enough games to keep Jeffers fresh while handing the pitching staff.

This is something managers will have to deal with going forward. Only 12 catchers caught at least 100 games last season. Just one, Philadelphia's J.T. Realmuto, caught more than 116 games. It has become a time-share position in this era of load management.

So when someone, like Jeffers, is belting baseballs all over the ballpark, managers are going look for ways to keep him in the lineup. Carry three catchers, you suggest? Have you seen the analytically fueled moves managers make these days? Benches are being emptied more than ever, even with a 26-man roster. So they want the flexibility for late-game strategy.

Baldelli was asked before Wednesday's game how long it took him to become comfortable with having both catchers in the lineup.

"Probably my first couple of years here, I don't know how comfortable I would have been doing that regularly," he said. "I think I was probably concerned with what would happen if your catcher goes down and you start losing your DH early in the game and things like that.

"And I think I just care less about that now."

Sign up for our Twins Update newsletter

Former manager Ron Gardenhire cared. He was only willing to start two catchers if he had a third on the roster. If he had just two, no dice. He didn't want to even consider the possibility of losing the DH in a game if a catcher was injured. "I'm not looking for a DH candidate in a catcher," he once said.

Gardenhire might have cared less if he had what Baldelli has, which is an affiliate in the St. Paul Saints. If a catching conundrum occurs at home, Jair Camargo can drive across the metro. If the Twins are on the road, he can meet the team the next day. Camargo has had a brief stint with the Twins earlier this season already. Hopefully he will get more chances and show off his massive power.

When the inevitable loss of the DH occurs, at least we will find out who the emergency catcher would be. Kyle Farmer was considered to be it last year, but Carlos Santana caught 330 games in his career before moving to first base.

If a pitcher needs to hit in a game, Baldelli is backing Kody Funderburk, who was a first baseman in addition to pitching at Dallas Baptist.

"Fundy can hit," Baldelli said. "He's a hitter. There were people that thought Fundy was a better hitter than pitcher coming out."

The Twins are a pulled muscle away from activating these contingency plans. But if Jeffers continues to produce the way he has, spending one day with Farmer or Santana behind the plate is a tradeoff Baldelli will accept.

"Hopefully going forward with getting both our catchers in there will be more beneficial to us than worrying about the one game where we maybe lose our DH," Baldelli said.

It might be worth checking out Funderburk's swing, though.