Royals’ Lopez looking to build off strong last start Saturday against Twins
Eddie Rosario returned to the Minnesota Twins‘ lineup and homered in a 10-6 win Friday night but the team will need to wait at least a little bit longer before getting third baseman Miguel Sano back in action.
Sano will undergo “a few more tests” on his ailing left knee, according to manager Paul Molitor, whose team continues a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
He’s been out since bruising the leg while sliding into second Tuesday night in Houston. There was hope that he’d return for the series opener Friday, but that plan was scratched when the pain hadn’t subsided.
“I was a little quick to speak about how he was the day after the injury,” Molitor told MLB.com Friday. “He’s still a little sore. I was of the mindset it would be sooner than later, and I don’t think it’s still too far out there. We’re just running a few more tests to make sure he’s going to be OK and there’s nothing that’s going to linger that we might have missed from the initial diagnosis.”
The Twins will also be without first baseman Tyler Austin on Saturday.
Austin’s back has been bothering him since Wednesday, when he slipped and fell near the dugout while chasing down a pop fly.
“His back is still feeling the symptoms there so we’re trying to go slowly and be patient as far as when we’re going to get him back out to play,” Molitor said. “He’s had some issues before. Nothing major that I know of. I just know he’s been dealing with working on keeping that back as flexible as he can and as available on a day-to-day basis as he can.”
Right-hander Jose Berrios gets the ball Saturday night, looking to break out of a late-season slump.
He hasn’t worked past the fifth inning in any of his last five starts and has a 6.65 ERA during that stretch. Berrios lasted only four innings his last time out, allowing five runs on five hits — including three home runs — while walking three and striking out eight in a 7-4 Minnesota loss to the Rangers last Saturday.
“Realistically, he’s fighting it a little bit,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I don’t know if it’s a combination of it getting late or a couple of other things, but it just hasn’t been going very well.”
Saturday will mark his eighth career start and third of the season against the Royals, who hand the ball to right-hander Jorge Lopez.
Lopez has been on a bit of a roller coaster since coming to the Royals as part of the trade that sent third baseman Mike Moustakas to Milwaukee at the deadline. Through four starts for Kansas City, he’s gone 1-3 with a 5.66 ERA. But while he’s given up a combined 11 runs in two of those starts, he’s also spun a pair of one-run outings, including his last time out when he held the Orioles to a run on five hits while striking out eight without a walk over seven innings of work.
“(His) command was good,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “But for me, he really utilized his fastball, pitched off his fastball, established his fastball. And he pitched off it with his slider, changeup and curveball. But the key was establishing his fastball first. He was filling up the zone and staying on the attack. Outstanding start for him.”
Lopez will be facing the Twins for the first time in his career.