Chimney Sweep

Carlos Correa slowed by bruised left heel as Twins lose for sixth time in 8 video games

MINNEAPOLIS — Carlos Correa, while hoping to return this weekend, is unsure when he will next play after sitting out Tuesday night’s loss with a left heel bruise.

An MRI performed prior to the Twins’ 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants at Target Field revealed inflammation in the shortstop’s left heel. Correa said he made an odd move after rounding first base with a double in Monday’s loss.

After Tuesday’s treatment, Correa, who leads the Twins in innings played this season, all but ruled out the possibility of participating in Wednesday’s series finals as the Twins look to avoid a series win. The team has Thursday off and resumes their home game streak with a three-game streak against the Toronto Blue Jays beginning Friday.

“We’ll see how it wakes up (Wednesday),” Correa said. “It’s still too early to tell. But of course I remain optimistic. It’s a shame not being able to play. I want to be out there every day. But at the same time, I need to keep an eye on the long-term effects and make sure I feel a lot better than I do today. Because it wasn’t good enough to play today.”

On Tuesday, it was just the fifth game Correa missed from the team’s 49 games this season. He started Tuesday with 376 1/3 innings on the field, 59 more than the next closest twin, Michael A. Taylor.

But Correa knew he wasn’t going to play after waking up Monday night with more pain than he originally felt while beating San Francisco starter Sean Manaea in the fifth inning. With the Twins understaffed, Correa ended the final four innings in a loss to the Giants.

“It got worse and worse as the game went on,” said Correa. “And when I woke up today, it really hurt. Did an MRI, it shows inflammation and plantar fasciitis. Just go day by day. We have a day off ahead of us. …Hopefully I can be back out there with treatment and rest by the weekend.”

The injury comes at a time when the Twins are already shorthanded.

Earlier in the day, the Twins put outfielder Trevor Larnach on the injured list with pneumonia and recalled Matt Wallner, who had a hit and a run in St. Paul’s Triple-A loss earlier in the day. Larnach joins Jorge Polanco (left hamstring strain), Nick Gordon (fractured tibia) and Max Kepler (left hamstring strain) as the latest additions to the IL.

“It’s tough when you’re on the sidelines and the team is losing,” said Correa. “It’s not what I want. It’s not fun to be there. But I hope I can be out there. I hope we can get a win (Wednesday) and then I can be out there again at the weekend.”

Goes critical while the Giants get past the Twins

Sonny Gray went with two batters and hit a double in his last inning, the sixth. Jovani Moran and Brock Stewart then executed bases-loaded walks that helped San Francisco come back from a three-run deficit in a 4-3 win over the Twins.

Though the Twins escaped their frenzy with the lead in the sixth inning, it didn’t last long as Jorge López gifted a double and a two-run home run against Michael Conforto in the crucial seventh inning.

“It really sucks because we have a really good team,” said López, who was comforted by Taylor and Byron Buxton at his locker after the game. “We really don’t have to go through these (losses). But you know, you stay positive and hope that tomorrow we come back and get a win.”

The Twins’ loss was the team’s sixth in eight games, including their third one-run loss.

Part of the problem is a stagnant offense that continues to produce inconsistent results. Buxton hit a two-run home run on Alex Cobb and Taylor extended the lead with a solo shot against the Giants starter in the fifth inning. But that was all the twins could produce. The team only had one shot with a runner in goal position.

What makes the current phase all the more difficult is that the Twins could well be 6-2 in the same period. They lost two winnable games in Los Angeles and again in Anaheim and also led through the middle inning on Tuesday.

“It gets a little more painful when you’re in every game, you’re in control of almost every game when you go out and play the baseball that you’ve seen your team play before,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I’ve seen that we play really well in those exact situations and win a bunch of games in a row in exactly the same way. If you lose these games en masse, it bothers you. …These are games and they are all very winnable games. We owe it to ourselves to find a way.”

Maeda and Thielbar throw bullpens

Kenta Maeda’s fastball speed hit 88 mph during a bullpen session Tuesday, a number the right-hander was more than happy with. Maeda threw 35 shots and is scheduled for another bullpen action on Friday, which he hopes to head off to for rehab.

Since being placed on the injured list, Maeda’s main focus has been working on the mechanics, which he was struggling with prior to his injury. Maeda, who suffers from a right tricep strain, believes the improvement translates to a speed gain. Given that a regular bullpen session lacks any intensity, Maeda expects his speed to pick up once he gets back into the action. He hopes to be able to consistently throw 90mph on his return, a problem that surfaced before Maeda went to the IL on April 29th.

“Throwing 88-89 (mph) fastballs here and there is fine, but I’d like to keep the number consistently above 90,” Maeda said through an interpreter. “But it’s more about how my pitches feel, about feeling comfortable on the mound. Before I went to IL, I felt kind of uncomfortable. I think once that is corrected everything should be fine. … The most important factor is the actual delivery mechanics. Before I moved to IL and started pitching in the big leagues, I felt like something was wrong with my mechanics and it was taking up a lot of my mind instead of focusing on the actual batsmen. I would like to take the time to clean this up and once I do things should be fine and good results should be achieved.”

Maeda was not alone in the bullpen on Tuesday. Reliever Caleb Thielbar also threw and was also satisfied with his performance. Thielbar threw a speed in the 84–88 mph range while slowly recovering from an oblique strain.

The left-hander threw 25 shots and liked the intensity of his workout. Thielbar is also set to throw another bullpen on Saturday, after which the Twins will decide on his next move, most likely a rehab trip.

Baldelli also provided an update on Kepler being eligible to leave the IL but still building.

“I’m not sure about the rehab part of his plan, whether or not he’s going to do it,” Baldelli said. “But it’s been a little longer than we thought. … We weren’t expecting a hiatus that long, but he’s not ready at this point to be in full swing. He was still in constant pain.”

(Photo by Rocco Baldelli and Sonny Gray: Jesse Johnson / USA Today)

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