And no, it wasn’t from the annoying Rays line-up, although they were torture for Pineda on Friday night as well.
The Twins ‘starter left the field in the third inning, accompanied by team coach Michael Salazar with an oblique injury, but not before he made four runs to the Rays in the Twins’ 10-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday night in the series opener gave up in the target field.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said the twins expect Pineda’s oblique injury to require a stop on the injury list, although the severity of the injury has yet to be determined. Baldelli said the twins would have the doctors examine him thoroughly and likely have an imaging done as well.
The manager wasn’t sure when the problem started to develop but said that when Pineda left the game he had to « clearly come out ».
« Mike does a lot of different things on the hill and does a lot of his moves and things like that, but there has been some discussion about the fact that he might not look quite right, but then a pitch would look good, » said Baldelli . « Sometimes it’s not as easy to say as it is at other times. »
Whether he was sick early or not, the Rays (71-45) pounced on the experienced starter and scored a run in the first, a pair in the second and one in the third before he left early. Just before leaving, he gave up a home run that was lasered to the left by former teammate Nelson Cruz.
Cruz, who was traded for the Rays on July 22nd, was greeted by the Twins (50-66) with a pre-game tribute video, an ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat he was on replied with a tip from his helmet and another ovation as he drove away from Pineda.
Cruz finished day 2 for 4, hitting the base four times and doing a couple of runs.
« I was hoping it would be a few more days before he got hot and started hitting balls on the barrel like he does, » said Baldelli. « Unfortunately that wasn’t the case today. »
The man who got a chance in the Major League through the Cruz trade, Brent Rooker, had a career day for the Twins and ended it with four hits and a home run of his own. Rooker drove in two of the twins’ runs and Cruz’s protégé Miguel Sanó drove in the other two.
« I felt good tonight. I was able to do a good job on the field before the game, cleaning up some early stuff and some things that had gone wrong in the last few games, ”said Rooker. « I felt good when my swing continued, had a good approach and was able to make some good turns in the courts. »
But despite Rooker’s offense, the Twins were never able to get out of the early hole they were put in and didn’t help each other defensively in the defeat.
Nick Vincent, who made his Twins debut, gave up one run on a solo home run in his 2 1/3 innings, and John Gant gave up five runs (three earned) in two innings when the Twins both lost the game and one of their most enduring starting pitchers for an unknown period of time.
« Any time you deal with an oblique injury, no matter what type of player you are, a pitcher like Mike is still going to miss out on some time, » said Baldelli. « If it’s not too severe, I think you’ll be speaking in weeks. The heavy ones are of course much longer, but we’ll wait and see. »
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