Twins put Max Kepler and Miguel Sano on 10-day injured list

Twins put Max Kepler and Miguel Sano on 10-day injured list

The twins announced this outfielder Max Kepler and first baseman Miguel Sano were placed on the 10-day injured list. Kepler has a broken toe, while Sano is struggling with an infection in his left knee. With appropriate plays outfielder Markus contraras was called up by Triple-A and the Twins selected the contract as an infielder Tim Beckham from Triple-A while Bailey Ober was moved to 60 Day IL to create a 40-man roster spot for Beckham.

Kepler has not played since being hit by a pitch on July 24, and his IL placement is retroactive to July 27. While off the field, Kepler has participated in limited baseball activities and even practice practice, so it’s possible he’ll only miss the 10 days minimum if he continues to show good progress (or if the fracture doesn’t continue to limit his ability to walk limit).

It’s been an odd year for Kepler, who has hit .244/.344/.390 in 337 plate appearances, good for an above-average 113 wRC+. However, with a wealth of excellent Statcast metrics and a .361 xwOBA, Kepler actually underperforms compared to what he “should” be achieving based on his advanced numbers. For the third straight season, opponents use layers against Kepler nearly every time Kepler steps on the plate, which has largely neutralized much of Kepler’s hard contact.

Still, Kepler was a very productive player overall, between his still-solid shot counts and excellent right field glove. His absence will further hamper a Minnesota outfield that is already understaffed Byron Buxton‘s ongoing knee problems as Buxton has been given plenty of DH time and not his usual midfield spot. The left-hander, who beats Contreras, will fill Kepler’s role to some extent as the twins will now juggle Buxton. Nick Gordon, Alex Kirilloff and reserves contraras, Gilberto Celestinoand Kyle Garlic around the three outfield points.

Sano was only activated from 60-day IL earlier this week, making it worrying that he’s already been sidelined again due to issues with his surgically repaired knee. His last injury actually happened while Sano was on his minor league rehab stint as Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters (including MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park) that Sano injured his knee when he slipped in his last rehab game. An MRI is scheduled for Sano on Monday.

Sano had surgery in early May and has played just 20 games this season, posting a measly .345 OPS over 71 PA. There was some thought that the twins might pull away from Sano now that he seems like the odd man on the list, but this recent IL placement will stall any decisions on that front. If Monday’s MRT reveals bad news, it could mark the end of Sano’s 2022 season and very likely his tenure in Minnesota — the twins will very likely (for $2.75 million) sell their $14 million club option to Sano buy up for the 2023 season.

Beckham signed a minor league contract with the Twins in February, and he could now be in line for his first taste of MLB action since 2019. The former first overall winner did not play anywhere during the aborted 2020 minor league season and spent all of 2021 in the White Sox organization with its Triple-A affiliate. Beckham has played throughout infield and also spent some time at left field in his career, so he’ll bring some usefulness to the Twins from the bench.

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