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Twins’ Josh Winder lands on injured list amid flurry of roster moves

The Twins also announced late Friday night after his start that they would be optioning Devin Smeltzer to make room on the roster for Bailey Ober

MLB: Game Two-Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Josh Winder throws to the Houston Astros in the second inning May 12, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Minnesota Twins made a host of roster moves on Saturday, optioning one starting pitcher, welcoming back another and placing yet another on the injured list.

The Twins announced late Friday night after his start that they would be optioning Devin Smeltzer to make room on the roster for Bailey Ober, who has been on the injured list since April 30 with a groin strain. Ober, who made one rehab start with the Saints, is expected to start Sunday’s finale against the Royals.

Most notably, the Twins placed rookie Josh Winder on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement. To take his place on the active roster, they added reliever Trevor Megill to the 40-man roster and called him up while designating Chris Vallimont for assignment to make space.

“I’ve been kind of managing it so far this year,” Winder said. “It got a little unmanageable after Oakland, but we’re on top of it. I’m feeling better. I’m recovering really, really well. I don’t plan on it being a very long stint on the IL but just a move that needed to be made to give me some time, get my feet back under me.”

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Manager Rocco Baldelli said Buxton’s movement is still an issue, which kept him out of the lineup on Friday, but said the center fielder is “showing a lot of improvement.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said the issue was something that Winder has pitched through and might have been able to continue to pitch through, but the Twins instead opted to sideline him in an attempt, Baldelli said, to “nip it in the bud,” before it got any worse.

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“We’re getting ahead of this,” Baldelli said. “We’ve seen what a really good version of him looks like, and we want to get him back to that as soon as possible.”

Winder’s last appearance came in Oakland when he threw 3 2/3 innings in relief and gave up five runs during his 78-pitch outing on Tuesday. The Twins tried to get him through a fourth inning of work, but were unable to do so when Winder ran into trouble, giving up three runs, the eventual difference in their 5-2 loss to the Athletics.

Winder was placed on the Triple-A injured list on Aug. 7 last year with a right shoulder impingement and did not pitch the rest of the minor league season.

“I think it’s kind of similar,” he said. “I might just be at a predisposition for this type of injury, so we’re just going to keep staying on top of it and keep doing what helped me out last year and what’s helped me out the beginning of this year.”

With Winder on the injured list and Smeltzer now in Triple-A, the Twins don’t have a true length option out of the bullpen, but Baldelli said he believed they had nearly a half dozen guys in the bullpen who could give them two to three innings in relief.

Megill, the brother of Mets pitcher Tylor Megill, was claimed off waivers by the Twins this offseason. They non-tendered him right after and then re-signed him to a minor league deal. At Triple-A St. Paul, he had a 3.27 earned-run average across 11 innings. He pitched in 28 games for the Cubs last season to an 8.37 ERA.

Vallimont, whom the Twins acquired in 2019 as part of the Sergio Romo trade, had a 9.95 ERA at Double-A Wichita this season before being designated for assignment.

Briefly

Trevor Larnach (groin) returned to the Twins after completing a two-game rehab assignment with Double-A Wichita, which Baldelli said he came out of “really good.” It’s possible Larnach is activated from the injured list on Sunday. … Nick Gordon has been taking some ground balls at first base, and Baldelli said there “shouldn’t be too many limitations on how many positions Nick is going to get proficient at.”

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