Joe Ryan didn’t even wait until manager Rocco Baldelli and head trainer Michael Salazar made it to the mound. There was nothing for them to discuss — he was coming out of the game.
Seconds after being struck flush on the right wrist by a Myles Straw batted ball traveling at 92.7 miles per hour, Ryan took himself out of the game, walking straight off the mound. As he reached the first-base dugout, the rookie slammed his glove down in frustration with his left hand. He threw his hat down next before disappearing into the tunnel that leads to the Twins’ clubhouse.
X-rays were negative, Baldelli revealed after the first game of the Twins’ doubleheader, which the Twins dropped 3-1 to Cleveland at Target Field — they would come back to win the nightcap 6-3 on the strength of four RBIs from catcher Ryan Jeffers — but after escaping what could have been a much more serious injury, Ryan said he was more upset by his reaction than anything else.
“I should’ve handled that more professionally,” Ryan said. “I probably shouldn’t have thrown my glove with my left hand. I think that sets a bad example. I should have been a little more professional about that.”
But the rookie can surely be forgiven for losing his composure briefly during a moment of shock.
Minutes after the game ended when Ryan was conducting his postgame Zoom, he was already anticipating a call from his dad, to “give me some (expletive).” After all, when throwing bullpens growing up, his father used to rip tennis balls back at him to prepare him for such situations.
Ryan, who had thrown five innings of one-run ball when he was struck, said it was the first time anything injury-related had happened to him on the field. Unable to field the ball with his right hand, he figured since he wasn’t going to pitch anymore, he should just go straight inside.
Thankfully for the Twins (64-82), the injury seems to not be as severe as they once feared, with Ryan saying he was “not worried” about it.
“Those are tough moments. You do hold your breath,” Baldelli said. “You are waiting to really see what you find out. There’s really nothing we can do to affect anything at this point except wait, see how he is.”
After going inside, Ryan had his wrist scanned, got some treatment and had it wrapped up. There’s a seam mark on it from the ball that Ryan said would be “kind of cool to look at for a couple of days.”
As for a return to the mound, Ryan said his wrist was stiff, though not he wasn’t in too much pain. But he acknowledged it’s probably not going to be him who ends up making that decision.
After Ryan’s departure on Tuesday, Cleveland (70-73) pulled ahead in the seventh inning, scoring a pair of runs off reliever Danny Coulombe to take the first game of the doubleheader.
In the second game, the Twins rallied back from a three-run deficit with four runs on five hits in the fourth, including a two-run Jeffers double. Jeffers, who finished the game with three hits, added a two-run home run in the sixth inning of the win.
“We faced some adversity this week and being down early in this game didn’t make it any easier, but we fought pretty well and were able to put some runs on the board, got big swings from a lot of different guys,” Baldelli said. “The lineup contributed today. It was a good day. Ryan Jeffers had a great day, but there were a lot of guys that did it, and our pitchers did a good job in this game as well. On a day that we were short, our pitchers went out there and they performed. We called on different guys. They got the job done.”