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Twins, Kenta Maeda seeking a second opinion on pitcher’s arm

The Twins placed Maeda on the injured list Monday after he left Saturday’s start early with right forearm tightness

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Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (18) looks at his arm following a conference on the mound during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Yankee Stadium. Brad Penner / USA Today Sports
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The Minnesota Twins don’t know yet definitively whether Kenta Maeda will be out for the season or if there’s a chance he could return, manager Rocco Baldelli said.

They also aren’t sure yet whether his right arm will require a procedure.

They should know much more about the status of the starting pitcher in the coming days, after they seek out further opinions from specialists.

The Twins placed Maeda on the injured list Monday after he left Saturday’s start early with right forearm tightness. They will send Maeda to see Dr. Keith Meister on Wednesday, and Baldelli said that likely won’t be the last opinion they get before making any decisions on his future.

“Once we have all the information we need, we’ll sit down and talk,” Baldelli said. “Obviously, Kenta’s opinion on this will be very important, but we’ll sit down as a group and figure out what we’re going to do as far as his next steps.”

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Baldelli said that if the imaging that was already taken presented a “very straightforward issue that we knew about,” they likely wouldn’t be in a situation where they are seeking out multiple opinions. But given the situation they’re in now, they believe having additional doctors’ opinions will be beneficial.

At this point, Baldelli said there are “several scenarios where maybe Maeda won’t pitch again this season,” but eliminating the possibility that he won’t pitch again entirely was something the manager did not want to do yet.

Baldelli gave a similar answer on the possibility of Maeda having a surgery, saying that there are scenarios where a procedure would be on the table, as well as scenarios where a procedure wouldn’t be necessary.

“The results and everything that we’ve been looking at doesn’t really point to one particular easy to decipher thing,” Baldelli said. “He’s dealing with some soreness in his arm. What we’re looking at on the MRI … we can see why he’s probably dealing with some soreness but we want to learn more and make sure that everyone is of the same opinion.”

Maeda has been on the injured list once before this season to deal with an adductor strain. His return from that injury was delayed by what the Twins called general soreness in his arm at the time.

Baldelli said Tuesday that Maeda had dealt with “almost tricep-related soreness,” and forearm tightness at points during this season.

“He’s pitched through some things and truthfully, especially recently, he’s pitched really well while still dealing with some things,” Baldelli said. “ … We’re just at a point where we can’t continue to pitch through that kind of stuff.”

Buxton update

The Twins expect Byron Buxton (hand) to play in at least couple more rehab games for the Saints, including Tuesday night, before he returns. Prior to Tuesday, Buxton had already played in two rehab games.

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Buxton is expected to play a full game in the field on both Tuesday and Wednesday for the Saints, who are currently in Toledo, Ohio. After that, Baldelli said they would “address everything again and sit down with him and talk after we get through these next two days.”

Buxton has been on the injured list since a Tyler Mahle pitch fractured his left hand on June 21.

Briefly

Randy Dobnak (finger) is scheduled to make a rehab start Thursday with the Saints. … Hitting coach Edgar Varela has rejoined the Twins after dealing with COVID-19. Four other staff members who have contracted COVID-19, including hitting coach Tommy Watkins, have not yet been cleared to rejoin the team.

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