Hamstring tightness relegates Twins’ Luis Arraez, in quest for batting title, to bench again
Arraez entered Monday’s play with a .315 to .311 edge over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who would win the first Triple Crown since 2012 if he surpassed the Minnesota Twins’ infielder.
CHICAGO — On this, Luis Arraez is clear: “I want to win the batting title fighting,” he said.
But a balky hamstring, which he said on Monday has been hurting him for three months, relegated the infielder to watching from the bench for the second straight day. Arraez entered Monday’s play with a .315 to .311 edge over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who would win the first Triple Crown since 2012 if he surpassed the Minnesota Twins’ infielder. Judge went 1-for-4 on Monday and remains at .311.
But Arraez has been limping through the month of September, and running from second to home in Saturday’s game did nothing to help his tight left hamstring.
“Everybody knows I’m competing to win the batting title. Everybody knows I want to play every day,” Arraez said. “I work hard in my offseason for that. But 100%, I don’t feel good today.”
While Arraez has been dealing with the hamstring issue for some time, he said it has worsened recently, and manager Rocco Baldelli said Arraez might have already been shut down by this point if not for the batting title race.
At this point, Baldelli said they’re still working on him and hope he can play in the final series of the season, but he wasn’t in a place physically to start on Monday.
“We’re at a point right now where if he could be out there, if I could reasonably think he could go out there and play first or DH today, he would be in the lineup,” Baldelli said. “I had to make the call knowing what I know about how he’s moving and what he’s going to be capable (of), that he can’t play in this physical state.”
When he has played recently, he has increased his lead in the race. Arraez is currently on a seven-game hitting streak. In four of his last five games, he has recorded two hits.
“This is baseball history. This is a batting title race. These things are important to all of us. Very important to Luis and every other player involved,” Baldelli said. “I know that. But if our guy, who’s a gamer and who takes the field every day for us can’t swing without hopping on one leg and can’t run to first base or score on a base hit, then I think it’s hard to put him out there.”
Rookies enjoy dress up
Twins rookies gave pedestrians milling around Michigan Avenue quite the show on Sunday evening.
Sixteen players and staff members dressed as unicorns and dinosaurs, who suited up in Detroit and wore their costumes on the flight to Chicago, exited the team bus and started racing down the crowded street toward the team hotel.
Veterans watched intently from the bus as the group made its way north toward the hotel about a mile away. While Jose Miranda was among those who chose to walk — it was too far to run while suited up, he said — plenty of others were treating the race with maximum effort.
“We were like, ‘Dang, they’re going to beat us back!,” starter Dylan Bundy said. “Sure enough, (Griffin Jax) beat us back. There wasn’t even that much traffic. They were just running hard.”
But Jax missed out on the prize for one important reason: his costume wasn’t inflated.
Outfielder Mark Contreras, who said he ran with his dinosaur tail whacking all the way, wound up winning the race — and a prize.
“I was right behind Joe Ryan, and he was running like he was in a marathon. That man had a good pace. I was like, ‘All right, just got to stay behind him,’” Contreras said. “And then my legs got tired, and I was like, ‘Yo!’ And then Griffin passed me. I just remembered we had to get to the left side of the street and we’re on the right side. I peeked over and all this traffic’s coming, but I just said, ‘I’ve got to do it.’
Trevor Megill, who left Sunday’s game after firing a warm-up pitch, has been placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain. To fill his spot on the roster, the Twins selected the contract of righty Aaron Sanchez. Kyle Garlick (wrist) was transferred to the 60-day injured list to clear space on the 40-man roster.
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