Minnesota Twins Place Max Kepler on Injured List with Patellar Tendinitis, Call Up Matt Wallner
The Minnesota Twins announced on Saturday that outfielder Max Kepler has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to patellar tendinitis in his right knee. The move is retroactive to April 5, and Kepler has not played in any of the team's last three games after being forced out of Monday’s contest while running the bases. In his place, the Twins have called up Matt Wallner from Triple-A to take Kepler’s spot on the active roster.
Last September, Wallner, who is 25 years old, played his first major league game and achieved a batting average of .228, hitting two home runs and bringing in 10 runs batted in over the course of 18 games with the Twins. He is one of several outfielders looking for a shot at the MLB level, and the 39th overall pick of the 2019 draft is considered a classic three-true-outcomes slugger, with lots of power (51 homers, .511 slugging percentage), strikeouts (30.32 K%), and free passes (12.75% walk rate) over his 1184 career PA in the minors.
The move comes as a blow to the Twins, who have had a slow start to the season. Kepler has hit leadoff for the team so far this season, but his injury is not believed to be significant, and he should return after a short absence. Willi Castro will start in the outfield against the Marlins in Kepler's absence and is listed seventh in the order.
Kepler has received good news from manager Rocco Baldelli, who reassured that the patellar tendinitis is not a significant issue. This means that the outfielder may be fit to play in the upcoming game against the Astros on Friday. According to our predictions, Kepler is expected to have 479 additional plate appearances in the ongoing season. During this time, he is likely to score 16 home runs, 63 runs, 57 RBI, and 7 stolen bases. Additionally, his batting average is expected to be around .252.
In other news, Jorge Polanco played five innings as the Class A second baseman on Thursday, going 1-for-3 with two strikeouts in a 4-2 loss to Dunedin. According to Twins head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta, he is expected to participate in the game on Saturday. After that, Paparesta and him will have a conversation over the phone to evaluate his condition, gauge his well-being, and determine if he needs to spend more time in Fort Myers or if he's ready to join the Triple-A team in St. Paul. The determining factors are his plate performance and the level of competition he requires.
At the request of starting pitcher Joe Ryan, the Twins debuted their new “Twin Cities” jerseys with him on the mound Saturday. For each Sunday home game, the cream-colored uniforms will be worn. The home opener on Friday, originally planned for Thursday but postponed due to chilly weather, presented an opportunity for most spectators to witness the latest enhancements at Target Field. These included fresh scoreboards and video screens positioned all over the stadium. Baldelli mentioned that there were also some improvements made out of sight. He exclaimed that the training room appeared amazing, despite not being demolished and reconstructed. Nonetheless, it was as though the room underwent a complete transformation. The sight is stunning.
The Twins also showed an “In Memorium” reel of people connected to the team who died in the past year, including former players Bill Campbell and David West, “Minnesota Icon” Bud Grant, and former Twins VP Mike Radcliff. As a tribute, the team placed a Twins jersey with Radcliff's name on an empty “scout's seat” behind the plate.
On the field, Louie Varland struck out nine over five strong innings, Mark Contreras and Hernan Pérez homered, and the Saints beat the Iowa Cubs 6-2 at CHS Field. Despite only recording four hits, the Saints managed to get three extra bases, one of which was Kyle Garlick's RBI double during the fourth inning. In addition, Garlick received a walk with the bases loaded.
0. “Twins Place Max Kepler On 10-Day Injured List” MLB Trade Rumors, 8 Apr. 2023, https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/04/twins-place-max-kepler-on-10-day-injured-list.html
1. “Twins place OF Max Kepler (knee) on 10-day IL” Yardbarker, 8 Apr. 2023, https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/twins_place_of_max_kepler_knee_on_10_day_il/s1_17044_38675292
2. “Twins' Max Kepler (knee) sitting versus Marlins Tuesday” numberFire, 4 Apr. 2023, https://www.numberfire.com/mlb/player-news/227525/twins-max-kepler-knee-sitting-versus-marlins-tuesday
3. “Twins' Max Kepler: Takes seat Wednesday” CBS Sports, 5 Apr. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/baseball/news/twins-max-kepler-takes-seat-wednesday/
4. “Twins’ Kepler still recovering; Gallo departs early as well” Yahoo News, 8 Apr. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/twins-kepler-still-recovering-gallo-180000457.html