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Twins report: Sonny Gray’s season likely over after placement on injured list

Gray was forced out of his start on Monday early as the hamstring issue he has been dealing with over the past month worsened. On Tuesday, he was placed on the 15-day IL with a hamstring strain for the second time this season.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians
Minnesota Twins starter Sonny Gray throws a pitch during the first inning Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, against the Cleveland Guardians. Gray was forced to leave the game early with an injury and his season is most likely over.
Ken Blaze / USA Today Sports
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KANSAS CITY — The Minnesota Twins haven’t completely closed the door on Sonny Gray’s year — if they are still in a race on the final day of the season, manager Rocco Baldelli suggested he might be able to return — but after a placement on the injured list on Tuesday, Gray’s season appears to be done.

Gray was forced out of his start on Monday early as the hamstring issue he has been dealing with over the past month worsened. On Tuesday, he was placed on the 15-day IL with a hamstring strain for the second time this season.

“He can’t physically pitch right now,” Baldelli said. “It’s not a viable option. If it was remotely close to a viable option, we’d be handing him the ball and he would have stayed in the game in Cleveland if he could. But we need to get him healthy before we can even discuss anything related to pitching right now. And he knows that.”

Gray would be eligible to return on Oct. 5, the final day of the season, though Baldelli said that would only happen if the Twins are still in a race. If this is the end to his season, Gray, 32, would finish with a 3.08 earned-run average in 24 starts, spanning 119⅔ innings. He was forced to the IL three times over the course of the year — twice for the hamstring and once for a pectoral strain.

While the production has been good when healthy, the veteran Gray is looking for ways to stay out on the field more consistently. This would be the fewest innings he has thrown in a season since 2017 — the shortened 2020 season excluded.

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“When I’m on the field, I feel as good as I’ve ever felt. With the ball in my hand on the mound in a game, I feel very, very, very good, very comfortable, very confident there. I think it’s for me, being able to do that more consistently,” Gray said. “That’s something that I will work on, especially going through this part of my career. It’s something that’s important, so … remembering that when I’m out there, I’m one of the best. Now, trying to put myself in the best position to be out there more.”

Hurricane Fiona on Twins’ minds

Jorge Lopez may be in Kansas City, but the reliever’s mind is in Puerto Rico, where his hometown of Caguas was just flooded by Hurricane Fiona. The hurricane in recent days ripped through the Caribbean, also affecting the Dominican Republic among other places, causing massive damage.

“When they mentioned (about it), it was only a normal tropical storm and in a few minutes, it changed to a Category 1 with 80 miles per hour (wind),” Lopez said. “It reminded me of when I was in Maria.”

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The Twins led the Central division for 108 days during the season. The last came on Sept. 4, when they pulled back into a tie with the Guardians atop the division. They finished the season in third place with a 78-84 record, 14 games behind Cleveland and three behind Chicago.
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Correa, who played in 136 games in 2022, finished his year hitting .291 with a .834 OPS. His 139 OPS+ (100 is league average) is the second-highest in his career. His 5.4 bWAR (Wins Above Replacement per Baseball Reference) leads the Twins, and he quickly became a leader within the Twins’ clubhouse.
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While the day started inauspiciously — Twins fielders committed three errors in the first inning — the rookie settled in nicely, throwing five innings and allowing just three hits in the Twins’ 5-2 loss to the Tigers (65-93) in the series finale at Comerica Park, a game in which the Twins (77-82) managed just three hits of their own.

Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, a Category 5 hurricane that reportedly caused more than 3,000 deaths and inflicted nearly $100 billion in damage.

While Fiona hasn’t had that kind of impact — the Twins’ four Puerto Ricans players (Lopez, Carlos Correa, Jose Miranda and Jovani Moran) have said their families are safe, though power has been lost on the island. Correa said he’s already looking for ways to help out, assessing the situation with the president of his foundation as they identify the best ways to provide aid.

“We’ve got to see where we need to look and truly go out there and focus our attention,” Correa said. “Obviously there’s a lot of people who are going to need help, but there’s going to be communities that are going to be more affected than others. So we’ve just got to figure out who and where.”

Briefly

The Twins reinstated Trevor Megill from the COVID-19 injured list on Tuesday as the corresponding move for Gray. … Dereck Rodriguez was optioned off the 40-man roster a day after he was optioned to Triple-A. Rodriguez made a relief appearance in the Twins’ 15-inning game against the Cleveland Guardians. … Trevor Larnach went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout on rehab in St. Paul, and Ryan Jeffers went 0 for 4.

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