A loss Monday night to the Toronto Blue Jays was the Twins’ 10th in their last 11 games — leaving Minnesota 2-11 since center fielder Byron Buxton went on the disabled list and 9-15 overall to start what was expected to be a special season in the Twin Cities.
The team plans to call up top pitching prospect Fernando Romero to give the starting rotation a boost but he won’t arrive until Wednesday, leaving the Twins to find a way to snap out their funk Tuesday when they continue their series with the Blue Jays at Target Field.
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They’ll likely have to do it again without third baseman Miguel Sano, who has sat out the last three games with a sore left hamstring and could be headed to the disabled list.
Sano tried running in the outfield Monday afternoon but manager Paul Molitor said “it didn’t go particularly well.”
“He’s not making a lot of progress,” Molitor said. “I was hoping by Day 3 we’d be seeing (him) a little bit better, being in a better position to get him back in the lineup.”
With Sano unavailable, Molitor has been saddled with a four-man bench and without Sano or Buxton in the lineup, the Twins’ offense has been sputtering.
“I don’t know how much longer we could wait,” Molitor said.
Buxton was supposed to have an on-field running session on Monday but that was cancelled. He went through monitored workout inside the clubhouse but he still has no timetable for a return.
“It’s pretty much what you can tolerate and what you can’t,” Buxton said. “If it starts feeling bad, I sit down for a little bit.”
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-1, 3.33 ERA) gets the start Tuesday coming off one of his best outings of the year. He held the New York Yankees to just one hit over six shutout innings on April 26, but took no decision as the Twins fell at Yankee Stadium.
He’s 3-1 with a 4.95 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays, who go for their third straight victory behind right-hander Marco Estrada (2-2, 6.00).
Home runs have plagued the veteran right-hander this season. He’s allowed seven through five starts after giving up 31 homers in 33 starts a year ago.
J.D. Martinez tagged him for a three-run blast in his last outing, as Estrada allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out five in a loss to the Red Sox.
“I basically let them all down in the fifth inning with one swing of the bat,” said Estrada, who opened the season with a pair of quality starts but has allowed 14 runs over his last 14 innings of work.
He’s 3-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 10 career appearances, including eight starts, against the Twins and 1-1 with a 3.89 ERA in seven appearances (five starts) at Target Field.