Long toss successfully completed, Kenta Maeda walked into the Twins’ Zoom room at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Tuesday afternoon seemingly feeling good, but with no set schedule yet as to when he would throw a bullpen.
Maeda, who is on the injured list with an adductor strain, has also been dealing with lingering arm discomfort. Maeda called it a “general soreness” in his right arm, declining specifics as to which part of the arm had been bothering him.
The pain, it seems, is still there to some extent, though Maeda said he felt better on Tuesday than when he did throwing on Friday.
Maeda was placed on the injured list on May 23, after feeling the adductor bothering him in consecutive starts. The arm discomfort, he said, is something “that’s been lingering for a while but I’ve been able to pitch through,” though he noted a dip in his velocity.
“It’s a tough question to answer,” Maeda said of his pain level. “Obviously if it’s at a zero, I’ll be game ready tomorrow, but I’m not at that point. It’s hard to quantify whether it’s at 100 or zero or somewhere in between. All I can say is just follow the rehab program and make sure I build my strength, and hopefully I can throw on the mound soon.”
Manager Rocco Baldelli, who spoke with the media before he had a chance to speak with Maeda after his throwing session, pointed to Tuesday as an important day to find out more about how Maeda is feeling.
“He may very well be fine, go out and have his long-toss session and it go very normally, and he ramps up from there,” Baldelli said. “We’re going to see what we find out today and what he says and how it goes.”
Center field plans
With the team’s other center field options — Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jake Cave — all sidelined with injuries, Baldelli said on Sunday that the Twins’ plan in center field would be to “ride Rob Refsnyder.”
That plan hit a snag when Refsnyder was scratched before Tuesday night’s game with left quad soreness, forcing the Twins to press Kyle Garlick into center field duty. It’s a position Garlick has not played since 2015 when he was in college.
Refsnyder’s scratch also led to utilityman Willians Astudillo playing the outfield for the first time since 2019.
While the Twins are still thin in center at the major-league level, they do now have an insurance plan waiting in Triple-A. The Twins promoted Gilberto Celestino, their No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, from Double-A to Triple-A, and since the center fielder has since cleared COVID-19 protocols, he could now be called up by the Twins at any point, if necessary.
Celestino, 22, was acquired by the Twins in 2018 as part of the return from the Houston Astros for reliever Ryan Pressly and is already on the 40-man roster.
“It’s probably related somewhat to our current outfield situation, but that move was already in the works,” Baldelli said before Refsnyder was scratched. “It didn’t have to do with anything that happened yesterday, or Ref going into the wall or anything like that. He was actually moving to Triple-A. Obviously we can’t make any moves from the Double-A level directly to the big leagues, so he had to clear those protocols.”
The Orioles grounds crew put up a taped outline of Refsnyder in center field on Tuesday, complete with his number, a day after he ran straight into the wall trying to catch Ryan Mountcastle’s home run.
“This outfield, obviously with the unique shape out there, can kind of trick you and make you kind of think you’re in a spot where you’re not,” Baldelli said. “ … Some of the guys thought it was funny, maybe other guys maybe less so. But it’s hard to get away from something like that.”
While the Orioles were having some fun with the Twins — whether appreciated or not — Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson decided to have some fun with his manager, playing around with an app that helped him insert Baldelli’s face on Austin Powers characters’ bodies.
“Oh snap I didn’t know @roccodbaldelli was in Austin Powers!!!” he tweeted along with the video.
Baldelli said Donaldson, after getting three hits on Monday, proclaimed he was “back,” and making the video was “part of JD being completely back.”
“JD found this app. Think it’s a $35 app, not a freebie. He was having some fun with it,” Baldelli said. “He popped in and he’s showing me all these videos and he made one that I was starring in and I said, ‘Put it on Twitter, I don’t care.’ He did it. Didn’t take him long.”