Sometime in the next couple days, very possibly as early as Monday, Mitch Garver will come off the injured list and return to major league action. And for as much as Garver and the Twins have been anticipating his return, it’s only the second-most exciting thing happening in his life this week.
Garver and his wife, Sarah, are expecting their first child, a son, on July 24, which likely will send Garver to the paternity list. But before he departs, the Twins are expecting their catcher to hit the field again.
Garver wrapped up his rehab assignment in St. Paul and will meet the team in Chicago ahead of its four-game series with the White Sox, which begins on Monday. Manager Rocco Baldelli said after Sunday’s game that it’s possible Garver could catch one of the two games in Monday’s doubleheader.
“Exactly what we’re going to do as far as activation, we’ll give it the day and put our heads together to make a decision, but he’s feeling really good,” Baldelli said. “I think his activation is imminent.”
Garver landed on the injured list after being struck in the groin by a foul tip on June 1. The injury required emergency surgery and a period of rest before he could resume baseball activities.
Garver’s rehab process eventually led him to a four-game stint with the St. Paul Saints, where he went 4 for 16 (.250) at the plate.
Baldelli said that, upon his return, the Twins are not planning to send him out there for three or four days straight days, rather waiting to make sure he comes out of the first full game feeling good and then reassessing.
“He always says he’s ready to play but I think we’re going to get him in there and certainly have his days where he is not behind the plate and then we can turn to one of our other catchers to go out there and catch, too,” Baldelli said.
The Twins are planning on adding Griffin Jax to the roster — at least for a day — and having him start the first game of Monday’s doubleheader.
José Berríos will make his first start of the second half in the second game, followed by Bailey Ober on Tuesday and Michael Pineda in the series finale.
Ober was originally scheduled to start on Saturday, but the Twins pushed him back to the White Sox series after Friday’s games were postponed rather than move veteran J.A. Happ off Sunday’s start.
Pineda last pitched on July 7 and Ober on July 10, providing an extra-long break for the duo. It’s an option the Twins liked, as they closely manage Ober’s workload and monitor Pineda after his return from the injured list.
“These guys have been throwing in between. It’s not like they haven’t picked up a ball much in between their starts. They’re still on their regular throwing programs but it’s just giving them a little bit of an extended layoff,” Baldelli said. “ … It was something that we thought about when we moved our guys around and just decided to give those guys a few extra days.”
Twins center fielder Byron Buxton has been out for nearly a month — he suffered a boxer’s fracture after being hit on the hand with a pitch on June 21 — and still has not been doing much activity with his left hand.
Baldelli said he has started range-of-motion exercises and has no limitation with his lower half, doing lower-body lifts and aerobic exercises.
“The gripping and the starting to do things baseball activity-wise with his hand has not really taken off yet but we weren’t expecting it to,” Baldelli said. “It’s still a little ways away.”
Danny Coulombe will return to the Twins on Monday and the club will option reliever Beau Burrows. Burrows pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Saturday.