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Pineda's goal of pitching for Twins this season hits snag

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) poses for a portrait during media day before the 2018 season. Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS—Right-hander Michael Pineda had a goal of pitching for the Twins next month; that goal is on hold.

Pineda is in the Twin Cities to have his right knee examined by team doctors after he was forced to shut down his last bullpen session. He was scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Rochester in Syracuse on Sunday, Aug. 26.

"I've been working so hard every day to get ready for September and everything is good with my arm," Pineda said Sunday before the Twins' matinee against Oakland at Target Field. "I'm so happy with my arm, so we'll see."

The Twins signed Pineda to a two-year, $10 million contract fully expecting him to spend this season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound right-hander has thrown a combined 12 innings at three minor league levels this season, including four at Rochester (1-0, 2.65 earned-run average).

He hadn't met with doctors as of Sunday morning. On Saturday, manager Paul Molitor said he expected Pineda to have an MRI exam on the knee Monday.

"I'd been throwing really good, and everything had been going really good, but in my last bullpen I felt some pinching in my knee," Pineda said. "I don't know. I don't feel 100 percent to be pitching today because I was supposed to start today in Syracuse."

No need

When talking to reporters this week, Molitor mentioned that he has never talked hitting with Joe Mauer, which seems odd considering Molitor is part of the 3,000-hit club and Mauer is a three-time American League batting champion.

On the other hand ...

"The comparison for me is I don't know, the last 10 years I played, I don't remember talking to anybody (about hitting)," the manager said.

Good point.

Mauer moved into second place on the Twins' career list on Friday, passing Rod Carew with his 2,086th hit; and if he plays beyond this season—he is without a contract for 2019—he could pass Kirby Puckett (2.304) for first place.

"I don't' really feel like I have much to offer as far as what Joe doesn't know about hitting," said Molitor, who finished his hall of fame career with 3,319 hits. "He knows his swing better than I know his swing, even though I've seen it a lot. It just hasn't really happened when we've gotten very deep on how we think about the best way of trying to be successful. It's not awkward. It just really hasn't surfaced.

"I mentioned yesterday after our session that we talked about that aspect of it and we both kind of laughed."


Catcher Bobby Wilson, on the 10-day disabled list after rolling his right ankle last Thursday in Chicago, is recovering well, Molitor said. "He's responded to treatment and put a lot more weight on that foot," the manager said. "We'll just have to see, but I'm more encouraged now that it's going to be less than more whether that's 10 days, 12 days."