MINNEAPOLIS — The already banged-up Minnesota Twins suffered a few more injuries Thursday on top of a 3-1 loss and a series sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals.
Starting pitcher Samuel Deduno left the game after just three innings due to right shoulder soreness. Meanwhile, outfielder Wilkin Ramirez — who missed extended time earlier this year with a concussion — fouled a ball off his leg in the fifth inning and had to be helped off the field.
Deduno said after the game that he will have an MRI Friday on his shoulder and wasn’t sure yet whether he’ll make his next scheduled start.
“I felt better than last time, but I think tomorrow they’re going to do the MRI,” Deduno said. “They’re going to see what I’ve got.”
Deduno was hit with the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in three innings. He also hit Royals right fielder Justin Maxwell in the second inning, which resulted in a warning from home plate umpire Alan Porter.
While the normally erratic Deduno has had better control this season than he did a year ago, he was all over the place on Thursday. The fact that he hit Maxwell on a 2-2 pitch was another indication that he didn’t mean to hit him.
When Porter warned the Twins’ dugout, manager Ron Gardenhire came out to argue and was quickly ejected — his fourth of the season and 66th of his career. Bench coach Terry Steinbach took over after Gardenhire was tossed.
“I think there’s a rule out there that says you can’t argue that, so the minute that Gardy came out, it was an automatic ejection,” Steinbach said. “If anybody was watching the game today, Sammy, he didn’t have his ‘A’ control today. When the ball takes off like that, instantly they warn you. It’s kind of frustrating.”
Deduno gave up three runs in the second inning after plunking Maxwell and worked a scoreless third before exciting. After the game, he said that he wanted to keep pitching but indicated that the Twins believed something wasn’t right with his shoulder, which has given him trouble recently.
“He’s telling us he’s fine, but we’ve seen him throw much better than what he’s throwing,” Steinbach said. “One would think that there must be something going on there because he’s not throwing the same way we know Sam can throw. In the process, he’ll get checked out and we’ll find out what needs to be done, if anything.”
Steinbach didn’t have much of an update on Ramirez, who is officially listed as day-to-day. Thursday was Ramirez’s 35th game of the year, and he is batting .272 after going 1-for-1 before exiting with a leg injury.
“He got hit pretty hard,” Steinbach said. “He was in pain. I went out there and Wilkin was in some pain. … You just never know, so I think the proper thing to do is let our staff do what they’re going to do and they’ll hopefully do the tests and it’ll come out negative and we can proceed from there.”
Willingham reportedly claimed by Baltimore: Multiple outlets have reported that the Baltimore Orioles have claimed Twins left fielder Josh Willingham on waivers, which means the two teams can now attempt to work out a trade or Minnesota can pull Willingham off of waivers.
However, there are additional reports that the Orioles have also claimed outfielder Michael Morse off waivers from Seattle and also have interest in outfielder Jason Kubel, who was recently designated for assignment. If that’s the case, there may not be as much of a chance that Willingham gets dealt.
In 90 games this season, the 34-year-old Willingham is batting just .211 with 12 homers and 45 RBI. He missed time after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.
Royals continue season dominance: With Thursday’s 3-1 win, the Royals swept the recent three-game series at Target Field to improve to 15-4 against the Twins this year. Kansas City is the only team to have beaten Minnesota more than nine times this season, and the Twins have allowed 98 runs to the Royals while scoring just 51 in their 19 games.
“It’s part of the game,” Steinbach said of the lopsided record. “When you play 162 games, you’re going to have ups and downs. Championship teams have ups and downs. The thing that we have to do is regroup and get back to playing consistent baseball and let the wins and losses take care of where they’re going to go. But we need to pick up our play a little bit.”