CHICAGO — Chris Archer spent several minutes in the outfield before Monday's game, playing an animated game of catch a day before his scheduled start. On Tuesday, he flew home to Minneapolis, having failed the test he set for himself.
Archer has felt increasing soreness in his left hip, which was surgically repaired two years ago, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said, and the team decided after Archer's throwing session not to risk allowing that minor condition to progress into a major problem.
"It's something we really want to get ahead of to keep him in a good spot physically," Baldelli said. "He's thrown really well for us. We want to keep him going."
Just not for awhile. Archer was placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to last Friday, with Josh Winder called up from Class AAA St. Paul to replace him. And with that, the Twins completed the set: All eight starting pitchers who began the season with the Twins have now missed at least one start because of injury or illness.
"We've leaned on him. Now for a couple weeks, we're going to lean on some other guys," said Baldelli, who predicted "there's a real chance" Archer returns the weekend before the All-Star break later this month. "This move is about taking care of Arch physically, to give us the best chance of pitching through the year and being successful into the later months of the season."
Triple play a hot topic
A day later, Monday's unique triple play was still a clubhouse topic. Reliever Joe Smith, for instance, jokingly described as "heroic" his success in retrieving the baseball from Alex Kirilloff's glove for the team's history archives.
Griffin Jax, who threw the pitch AJ Pollock drove to the fence to start the history-making sequence, counted himself among those who "had no idea" when Byron Buxton caught the ball that a triple play was possible.
"I was [covering] home plate, and when I turned around, I saw him catch it. I saw [White Sox baserunners Adam Engel and Yoan Moncada] kind of right on top of each other past second base," Jax said. "I was like, 'Wait a minute. Force out at second base — let's get that first out.'"
Gio Urshela got both of them out, though, for the first center-to-third triple play in major league history.
Jax laughed at his role, which was to race toward the play and try to direct traffic. When he saw Buxton's throw to the infield sail over shortstop Carlos Correa's head, he made sure Urshela knew what to do next.
"I was screaming, 'Second base! Second base!' I kind of lost track of" Urshela, Jax said. Moncada "didn't go back to first, so I was like, 'OK, going to be a pretty easy triple play there.'"
Buxton, too, was amazed that it had happened — and was especially happy that he could help get Jax out of a jam. He still felt guilty, he said, for not making a leaping catch of a Spencer Torkelson double in May that wound up costing the reliever a run.
"It touched my glove. Regardless of how tough it is, if it touched my glove, I feel like I should catch it. That felt like it was on me," Buxton said of the May 23 play against Detroit. "As a pitcher, it's their ERA, but I'm playing behind you [so] it's like my ERA, too. I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to make sure their ERA keeps going down."
- Dylan Bundy on Correa's ground-ball defense Monday, which saved him a run or two: "He likes the hard one-hoppers at him, he's told me, so I try to give him one or two every now and then."
- Tuesday's Twins-White Sox game occurred across the street from where Cleveland's Larry Doby became the first Black player in American League history exactly 75 years earlier. Doby struck out as a pinch hitter in his first major league game on July 5, 1947, at Comiskey Park, the White Sox's home until 1991.