Friday, September 1, 2017

Niko Goodrum, right-handed bat

There were a few hours of fret Thursday when word came out of the Twins clubhouse that Byron Buxton had injured his left hand and the early indications were that it was the hamate bone.

The hamate is a small, nonessential bone in the wrist that is slow to heal. The typical treatment is surgery -- which would have ended Buxton's season. Since Buxton is (at least by Baseball Reference's version of WAR) the Twins' best player, this would be a severe blow.

By 1 p.m., the news was considerably better:

Buxton didn't play Thursday. Zack Granite patrolled center between Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler -- three left-handed hitters.

Even with the favorable diagnosis for Buxton, it's not certain when he will again be hitting without pain in the left hand/wrist. The Twins struggle as it is against lefties, and a Rosario-Granite-Kepler outfield is obviously at a platoon disadvantage against southpaws. And Robbie Grossman, a switch-hitter with a track record of being better from the right side, remains sidelined with a broken thumb.

Enter, come Saturday, Niko Goodrum. The Twins will bring up three players Saturday from Triple A Rochester -- left-handed pitchers Buddy Boshers and Nik Turley to bolster the bullpen, and Goodrum, a 2010 second-round draft pick who I saw  with Cedar Rapids back in 2013. He was mostly a shortstop that year, with Jorge Polanco at second, but the next year Polanco was playing short and Goodrum started moving around the field.

With Rochester this year, Goodrum started

  • 35 games at second base
  • 19 games at third base
  • 41 games in right field
  • 14 games in center field
  • 9 games at shortstop
  • 1 game at first base
  • 1 game in left field

Somehow he missed catching.

The real reason he's getting called up: He mashed lefties.

The Twins can use some of that, for certain.

Goodrum is not on the 40-man roster, and I believe the Twins will have to drop somebody to get him on. The move apparently won't come until Saturday.

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