Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
HOUSTON — Just when Byron Buxton was finding his rhythm at the plate, the Twins' speedy center fielder landed Saturday on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right groin. Buxton, who said he suffered the injury scoring from first on Brian Dozier's bases-clearing double in Friday's third inning, stayed in the game until after legging out a sixth-inning double. This is the second career trip to the DL for Buxton, who also missed more than five weeks as a rookie in 2015 with a sprained left thumb.
HOUSTON — After hitting 32 total homers in the Home Run Derby on Monday in Miami, Miguel Sano didn't feel as if he needed extra work to recalibrate his swing for game action. That's because, despite all those monster blasts on his way to a runner-up finish to New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, Sano purposely kept his swing the same.
MINNEAPOLIS—Even as the surprising Twins stayed near the top of the American League Central throughout the first half, third-year manager Paul Molitor heard plenty about run differential from those who would discount his club as more pretender than contender.
MIAMI — Former Twins reliever Pat Neshek, now a two-time all-star since his release, is hearing trade rumors again as the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies receive inquires on the pending free agent. Could the Twins seek to reacquire the 36-year-old who grew up in Brooklyn Park? "Minnesota? That'd be fun," Neshek said. "My brother (Paul) is still up there, and he fills in on the (Target Field) grounds crew every once in awhile." Twins catcher Jason Castro, who worked with Neshek for two seasons in Houston, also could vouch for the rubber-armed side-armer.
MIAMI — When Miguel Sano steps into the batter's box and Ervin Santana climbs atop the pitcher's mound Tuesday night at Marlins Park, they won't just be representing the Twins at the All-Star Game. They will be representing their native Dominican Republic, which has sent 13 players to this year's midsummer classic. The Twins join the New York Yankees (three) and Seattle Mariners (two) as the only big-league teams with multiple 2017 all-stars from that baseball-rich nation.
MINNEAPOLIS—In long, dull game for a solid Target Field crowd, the highlight was a pop out. Twins rookie Zack Granite popped out to left as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning of a 5-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, but it was an 11-pitch at-bat against right-hander Mychal Givens that started with an 0-2 count. It was Granite's first appearance in a major league game. "I missed the first two pitches," he said. "It felt like he was throwing 112 (mph)."
MINNEAPOLIS — Struggling left-hander Hector Santiago has returned to the disabled list for the second time in a month, this time with what the Twins are calling upper thoracic back pain and discomfort. He spent three weeks on the disabled list in June with a strained left shoulder, but even with a three-inning rehab outing at Triple-A Rochester his results have not improved. Santiago was scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Wednesday night, July 5.
MINNEAPOLIS—The Twins' second baseman wanted to play, ailing back or not. Paul Molitor wasn't swayed. He stuck by his plan to sit Dozier for the third time in four games after running him out there for 47 starts in 48 games, dating to a sprained left ankle in early May. "Brian's one guy who wants to play every day if possible," Molitor said. "It's hard for him to sit when he thinks he's got a chance to go."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As expected, the Twins reached agreement Sunday with 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Jelfry Marte, according to multiple people with direct knowledge. His signing bonus will be $3 million, pending a physical exam yet to be scheduled. Sunday marked the opening of the international signing period for 2017-18. The next step is for the Twins to secure a visa for Marte so he can be examined by team doctors.
BOSTON — Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was asked if he had any predictions for his first home run derby at any level when he gets to Miami next month. "Yeah," he said with a smile Thursday afternoon, June 29. "I need to win every time." Sano joined Miami Marlins slugger and reigning champion Giancarlo Stanton as the only confirmed participants for the July 10 event. Sano leads the Twins with 18 home runs, many of them tape-measure shots, and is on pace to obliterate the career-best 25 he hit last season.