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Is Kirilloff going to get called up?

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4 Call-Up Options Should Josh Donaldson Miss Time

Josh Donaldson was forced to exit Thursday’s game following what was called a pulled hamstring. While we do not yet know the severity of the injury or how much time (if any) the former MVP will miss, let’s look at potential replacements.
Image courtesy of © David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
Opening Day for the Minnesota Twins reminded us just how real the risk of injury is in baseball each and every day. On just the second at-bat of the game, Josh Donaldson pulled his hamstring rounding first base and was forced to leave a 0-0 ballgame.

After the game, manager Rocco Baldelli didn’t give out too much information regarding the severity of Donaldson’s injury saying, “Obviously there has to be some concern, but we’ll wait and see until we know a bit more to comment further.”

While we do not yet know if Josh Donaldson will go to the injured list or not, it’s clear that a contingency plan needs to be in place. Let’s look at the four minor league call-up options should Josh Donaldson land on the injured list.

Brent Rooker

When Brent Rooker was surprisingly left off of the Opening Day roster, the primary reason given was that Baldelli did not want Rooker to be up with the Twins if he was not going to get every-day at bats. If Donaldson were to hit the injured list, and Luis Arráez were converted over to be the every-day third baseman, there would be a full-time opening at left field, with Jake Cave then able to act in his usual fourth outfielder role. Brent Rooker has always had the bat to compete in the Major Leagues, however his outfield glove is a major question mark. Additionally, with Kyle Garlick already up with the Big League club, Rooker’s right-handed power bat would be a bit redundant.

Alex Kirilloff

The controversial decision to start Alex Kirilloff at the alternate site was similarly made with the primary reason being that Kirilloff would need to get consistent work. A decision that fans were largely disappointed by, could be corrected here, calling up Kirilloff to cover the void in left field caused by Donaldson’s injury. This decision would cause Alex Kirilloff’s service time clock to start earlier than ownership may like, and his readiness for the Majors is still a question mark after his troublesome Spring.

Extra Infielder

Calling up a fifth outfielder to replace an injured infielder might not make the most sense. Calling up a replacement infielder for Donaldson, might be the most prudent decision as currently, Willians Astudillo would be the only backup infielder on the roster. Under this line of thinking, infielders Travis Blankenhorn, JT Riddle or Tzu-Wei Lin would give the Twins more defensive flexibility and allow them to not need to rely as heavily on La Tortuga as a backup infielder. Of the three mentioned infielders, Blankenhorn is the only one currently on the 40-man roster. One other option would be Nick Gordon, who is also on the 40-man roster, but it’s not totally clear how Major League ready he is at this time.

Extra Reliever

The final option for the Twins would be to not call up another bat, but instead call up an extra arm for Josh Donaldson’s roster spot, should he hit the IL. Heading into the season, some thought that the Twins should roster 14 pitchers, however they opted for 13. With this injury, the Twins could bring up another reliever such as Shaun Anderson or Lewis Thorpe who are both on the 40-man roster. The Twins could then roll with Arráez as the everyday third baseman, a Garlick/Cave platoon and left field, with Astudillo filling in as the utilityman across the diamond. This option would give the Twins much more flexibility with their pitchers in a season in which pitchers will need to be handled with care, however having Astudillo as the lone utilityman isn’t the most ideal option.

Which call-up option do you think the Twins should go with should Josh Donaldson be forced to go on the injured list? Is there a fifth option not mentioned above? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!

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41 Comments

How about moving Sano to 3B, calling up Kirilloff to play everyday 1B?

    • peterb18, bighat and Nine of twelve like this

My vote is for Blakenhorn.Granted my vote means absolutely nothing.

    • Danchat likes this

I would move Sano to third and have Rooker play first base.

 

    • peterb18 and blindeke like this

What probably makes the most sense is to call up Rooker (or Kirilloff). Either start whichever in LF or move Sano to 3B and play them at 1B. I suspect the LF option would be preferred to limit positional shuffling.

    • peterb18, Twins33 and Dave The Dastardly like this

Blankenhorn starting in AA doesn't suggest he'll get the call.

 

A 1B/OF makes sense as it allows Arraez as the primary 3B with Sano in case of emergency. 

 

It is surprising they don't have a AAAA-type utility player on the 40-roster. (Arguably Gordon, but I'd still classify him as "prospect" regardless of stock.)

I would bring up Lin and have him be the regular 3rd baseman. Fit’s the defensive philosophy and he hit in ST as well. Don’t think it’s likely Kirilloff is ready.

    • jun, wabene and Doctor Gast like this

Let's stay optimistic, guys. Donaldson will take today and tomorrow off, then return Sunday where his bat makes the difference in the Twins second win of the season.

 

Nooooooooo Way do I want to see his name on any IL, DL or any other list this early in the season.

    • TopGunn#22, blindeke, wabene and 3 others like this
I think I would keep Arraez at 3rd base and bring up Tzu-Wei Lin as utility infielder.
    • jun, Major League Ready, FritzDahmus and 1 other like this
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ScrapTheNickname
Apr 02 2021 03:14 PM

I'd play Kepler at third just for fun.

Kirilloff and Rooker can’t play in the majors yet. I’ve been told they’re not ready.

I'd call up Blankenhorn, as he's played a decent amount of 3B in the minors. I'd prefer seeing him get some games at 3B rather than Astudillo.

    • Dr. Evil and wabene like this
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BeatTheRich
Apr 02 2021 05:04 PM

Desperate times, desperate measures. Don't replace a big bat with a Punch and Judy hitter. Alex K just may have to do his growing up in the big leagues.

    • TopGunn#22 and bighat like this
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IndianaTwin
Apr 02 2021 06:47 PM
An extra pitcher isn’t a viable option for the next two games. Having 12 hitters, one of whom is only a pinch hitter, means you have the backup catcher and two guys who can play defense.
    • TopGunn#22 likes this
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Old Twins Cap
Apr 02 2021 07:16 PM

Does the title say "Should Josh Donaldson miss time"?

 

Just asking 'cause, it was the first game of the season, after a season last year where Josh missed considerable time, and after a career where his calf is anything but golden.

 

Donaldson is an IL itinerant in waiting.Unfortunately.

 

Best to understand reality, and live in it, then walk around with stories in your head about how things are going to be just fine.

    • bighat likes this
Arraez needs to be in the lineup every day. Idk if he has to pitch. Lol. Good thing we have alot of youngsters that can play multiple positions!! Donaldson will be back on Saturday. He is getting massaged today and eating jars of pickles.
    • TopGunn#22 and wabene like this
We don't know how long Donaldson will be out and when the next problem will arise. It really begins to feel like Sano is our only real third Base option. The rest fill in but we know he can actually play the position. Then rooker and Kiriloff or Larnach work. So we will tune in tomorrow and see what the doctors report is and keep hoping that our four-year contract isn't like buxton's career so far.
    • TopGunn#22 likes this
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BeatTheRich
Apr 02 2021 09:22 PM

 

Donaldson will be back on Saturday. He is... eating jars of pickles.

 

Josh is pregnant? And here I was thinking it was his hamstring.

    • TopGunn#22, Danchat and Heiny like this
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twinkies8791
Apr 02 2021 10:51 PM

call up Law

If Donaldson stays hurt, then Kirilloff gets the nod, because Garlick bats right, and his spot goes to Rooker if he scuffles at the plate. As mentioned, Arraez must keep his bat in the game, so he goes to 3B. Thank goodness Arraez is so position flexible. 

    • TopGunn#22 and BeatTheRich like this
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killertwinfan
Apr 03 2021 06:48 AM
I get the concern for his replacement but I don’t get the free pass on conditioning and preparation. Josh had an easy double so he is at cruise speed, not at I’m being chased by a bear and need to fly speed. How about being in better condition and warmed up properly to survive that circumstance. He needs to be prepared and he wasn’t.
    • D.C Twins likes this
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killertwinfan
Apr 03 2021 06:48 AM
I get the concern for his replacement but I don’t get the free pass on conditioning and preparation. Josh had an easy double so he is at cruise speed, not at I’m being chased by a bear and need to fly speed. How about being in better condition and warmed up properly to survive that circumstance. He needs to be prepared and he wasn’t.

Eddie Rosario looked good at 3B that one game in Boston. We could shift him there and call u-... oops.

 

I think I want to look at the batting order, taking Donaldson out, and decide who on the 40-man is the best bat to replace him. For me, that's Rooker. Adjusting the defense to put all the batters in their best deployment leads to Arraez at 3B.

 

It's not ideal, but aiming for a slightly better defense leads to a dropoff on offense.

    • PDX Twin likes this
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yeahyabetcha
Apr 03 2021 08:11 AM
Interesting that after a game was just lost due to horrible defense. A lot of posters advocate for a bad defensive lineup Sano at third and Rooker at first?? Assuming Donaldson has to go on the DL, Arraez should get 3b, platoon Cave and Garlick in LF and call up Lin or Riddle to provide a backup infielder. At least for the short term.

Against National League teams I would put Sano at 3B and play Cruz at 1B. Against American League teams, I'm fine with Arraez at third and Cave or Garlick in the outfield. If Josh goes on the IL, it makes the most sense to bring up either Kiriloff or Rooker.

 

I get the concern for his replacement but I don’t get the free pass on conditioning and preparation. Josh had an easy double so he is at cruise speed, not at I’m being chased by a bear and need to fly speed. How about being in better condition and warmed up properly to survive that circumstance. He needs to be prepared and he wasn’t.

YES THIS!

 

Pulling a hamstring on a routine double early in the first game is not acceptable.

 

Proper stretching and preparation (though time consuming an boring) makes that an absolutely preventable injury.

 

There needs to be a complete overhaul of the strategy by him and the Twins training staff.