Banged-up Twins open series against Angels

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels will oppose the Minnesota Twins on Friday night in Anaheim, Calif., and in what has not been uncommon over the past few years, they will do so without Anthony Rendon at third base.

Rendon was placed on the injured list on Monday due to a left groin strain, and is eligible to return on May 24. He had already missed time this season, serving a four-game suspension because of an altercation with a fan in Oakland during the opening series of the season.

Normally, though, the reason for Rendon sitting out is an injury. In his four seasons since signing a seven-year, $245 million contract, Rendon has avoided the injured list in just one year. And that was 2020, when the season was shortened to just 60 games. He hasn’t played in more than 58 games in any season with Los Angeles.

Fortunately for the Angels, general manager Perry Minasian anticipated the possibility of Rendon’s absence, acquiring third baseman Gio Urshela from the Twins for a minor league pitcher last winter.

Urshela likely will be at third base Friday against his former team, though he has played most of this season at first base. Urshela was brought in to play wherever needed, and he has spent time at first, third, shortstop and second.

He has played in 41 of the Angels’ 45 games, starting 38.

“We’re protecting ourselves in a lot of different spots,” Minasian said when the trade was made. “(Urshela) is a really good player. … The ability to add a player of this caliber and add him to the group of infielders we currently have, we thought, was the right move.”

Urshela, who entered Thursday’s game as a pinch hitter and went 1-for-2 in the Angels’ 6-5 win against the host Baltimore Orioles, owns a .298 batting average. His 45 hits leave him third on the team behind only Shohei Ohtani (49) and Mike Trout (46), both of whom homered on Thursday.

Angels left-hander Reid Detmers (0-3, 4.89 ERA) will make his eighth start of the season on Friday. He hasn’t pitched poorly, allowing two earned runs or fewer in four of his seven starts, including giving up two runs and six hits in five-plus innings on Saturday in a no-decision against the Cleveland Guardians.

Detmers is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two career starts vs. Minnesota, both outings occurring last year.

Right-hander Joe Ryan (6-1, 2.16 ERA) will start for the Twins, his ninth start of the season. He is coming off a victory in his latest outing when he shut out the Chicago Cubs on four hits over six innings and struck out 10 on Saturday.

Ryan has faced the Angels once previously, throwing four innings of three-run ball in a no-decision on Sept. 24, 2022.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli will have challenges making out his lineup on Friday, as the club experienced injury issues during a 7-3 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Center fielder Nick Gordon fouled a ball off his right shin and X-rays showed a fracture, putting him out indefinitely. Right fielder Joey Gallo also fouled a ball off his right shin and had to leave the game, and he was diagnosed with a bruise.

“I would think, as of right now, I’m going to try to play no matter what,” Gallo said postgame on Wednesday. “Just going to have to get a longer shin guard, for sure. I should be fine.”

Baldelli, however, had more of a wait-and-see approach.

“Joey was not in good shape when he came out of the game,” Baldelli said.

Second baseman Jorge Polanco also had to exit the Wednesday game due to a left hamstring injury, and his status was questionable.

With the injuries, Willi Castro figures to find his way into the lineup somewhere. Castro played in 30 of the Twins’ 44 games, getting time at all three outfield positions, second base, third and shortstop.

“We’ve got some things to talk about,” Baldelli said.

The Angels enter the three-game weekend series after splitting four games in Baltimore. The Twins dropped two of three to the Dodgers.

–Field Level Media

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