Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Contemplating Mitch Garver

We might have a better idea later today of how badly damaged Mitch Garver's ankle is after Tuesday's plate collision, but the immediate diagnosis -- a high ankle sprain -- suggests a few weeks on the injured list.

At the start of the season, losing Garver for a month (or whatever it turns out to be) wouldn't have seemed as daunting as it does today. As it is, we might rather have had Byron Buxton's throw -- which only cut down the tying run -- be off line and pull Garver out of harm's way.

That's not a choice anyone gets to make. Buxton made a remarkable throw -- Statcast puts the throw at 253 feet and 98.6 miles per hour -- from a dead stop, and both Garver and baserunner Shohei Ohtani did what the rules regarding plays at the plate say they are supposed to do, and Garver got hurt anyway.

Garver, of course, has been a major part of the remarkable production the Twins have gotten from their catchers (he hit a two-run bomb on Tuesday before the injury). They still have Jason Castro and Willians Astudillo, the latter of whom just came off the injured list himself. Both figure to get more playing time while Garver is out, and presumably Astudillo will play less third base-outfield-first base.

Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz nurses a sore wrist -- Rocco Baldelli has shuffled Garver and Astudillo through the DH role the last two games -- and Miguel Sano is nearly ready to come off the injured list. I rather expect that will be the move, Garver on the IL and Sano activated.

We're already seeing Marwin Gonzalez start to move around the field some after a more than a month of being pretty much locked into third base. His multiposition versatility is a big part of his value, and we haven't seen it in action much because of Sano's absence. Garver's injury figures to reduce Astudillo's use at other positions, so even though Gonzalez isn't a catcher, Garver's injury makes it more necessary to move Gonzalez around.

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