The Twins will not head into the regular season with their first-choice roster in place.
Manager Rocco Baldelli announced Wednesday that righthander Jake Odorizzi, slated to be the No. 2 starter in the rotation, will begin the season on the injured list because of upper back soreness. Odorizzi was scratched from his outing Monday because of the injury, and has not recovered sufficiently for him to take the ball Saturday against the White Sox.
So the Twins will start, in order, righthander Jose Berrios, lefthander Rich Hill and righthander Kenta Maeda in the three games against Chicago.
Odorizzi went 15-7 last season and was named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Baldelli said the IL move will be backdated so Odorizzi will only miss the first five games of the regular season.
“He’s dealing with a little something, but he’s still able to take part in most of his day and most of his preparation,” Baldelli said. “I wouldn’t expect this to linger too long. I would expect him to be back out on the mound sometime soon, probably throwing a bullpen either just before we come back or soon after we come off the road, and then be ready to go.”
While Odorizzi is out for the opening weekend, Byron Buxton could be in.
Buxton, who is recovering from a left midfoot sprain, worked out at CHS Field in St. Paul on Wednesday, getting some running in and facing live pitching. Buxton injured himself while changing directions as he attempted to catch a fly ball. The injury can be a serious one, but a day later, Buxton did not need protection and could put weight on the foot, a good sign. He might not be ready to play on Friday for Opening Day, but he could be available later in the series. He’s expected to drive to Chicago on Thursday.
The Twins have until 11 a.m. Thursday to set their 30-man roster for the season opener.
“Buck was able to go over to St. Paul, get a full day of work in, run and pick up the intensity on his running,” Baldelli said. “I got some videos of him getting swings off of live pitching. That’s what allows him to actually get a lot in and we’ve talked to Buck about potentially coming over this weekend.”
Escape while you can!