On Friday night, the Minnesota Twins will continue their pivotal series against Cleveland, whom they lead by one game in the American League Central. Unfortunately for the Twins, they’ll have to navigate the rest of the four-game set (and thereafter) without designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who was placed on the injured list on Friday due to a left wrist strain.
Cruz, 39, suffered the injury during Thursday’s game against Cleveland. This is the second time this year he’s landed on the shelf due to his left wrist. Earlier in the campaign, he missed nearly 20 games with a similar issue.
On the season, Cruz has hit. 294/.384/.650 (166 OPS+) with 32 home runs. He’s been hot as of late, homering 11 times in his last 14 appearances while posting a 1.697 OPS. That stretch has included three multi-homer games, including two of the three-dinger variety.
It’s unclear how the Twins intend to manage their DH spot without Cruz around. During his first absence, they implemented a by-committee approach. A similar strategy would likely allow more playing time for Jonathan Schoop, who has lost playing time to rookie Luis Arraez.
Cruz’s injury comes at a poor time for the Twins, who, as mentioned, are clinging to a thin lead over Cleveland. The upside — if there is one — is that while the Twins will play six more times against Cleveland after Sunday, those games won’t occur until September. Cruz should be back by then — the question is whether Minnesota will be positioned to make those games count.