AL Central Notes: Gray, Grossman, Greinke

Twins’ starter Sonny Gray left today’s game after being visited by team trainers. The team announced to reporters, including Dan Hayes of The Athletic, that Gray has right pectoral tightness. The severity isn’t known at this time, but it’s no doubt worrying for the Twins and their fans. Gray already missed about three weeks on the IL this season, although that was a hamstring strain.

Still, the Twins are in a bit of a squeeze when it comes to their rotation. Chris Paddack, Josh Winder and Joe Ryan have all landed on the IL in the past couple of weeks, which has thinned out their depth. The rotation at the moment consists of Gray, Dylan Bundy, Bailey Ober, Chris Archer and Devin Smeltzer. The club is currently in the middle of a stretch where they play 18 games in 17 days, thanks to a doubleheader that’s coming up on Tuesday. Even if Gray can make his next start, it’s going to be a challenge to get through the next chunk of their schedule.

Perhaps adding to that challenge will be the withdrawal of some unknown players when the Twins head to Toronto next week to face the Blue Jays. Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune relays word from president of baseball operations Derek Falvey that “a few” of the players on the roster won’t be making the journey. Current Canadian health restrictions don’t allow for those not vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross the border into the country. (Canada is not exceptional in this regard. The same restrictions apply in reverse, as unvaccinated Canadians are not currently allowed to enter the United States.)

Other notes from the division…

  • Robbie Grossman started today’s game as the designated hitter for the Tigers but was replaced by Jeimer Candelario. Manager AJ Hinch told reporters after the game, including Jason Beck of MLB.comthat Grossman was experiencing neck spasms. While it doesn’t appear Grossman is headed for a lengthy absence, it’s surely frustrating for a Detroit team that has been heavily snakebit this season. Though the club entered the season with hopes of competing for a playoff spot, they’ve been hit by a large number of injuries, most notably in the starting rotation. The club’s record is currently 17-29, putting them second-last in the American League, ahead of only the Royals. That has the club trending towards being sellers at the deadline this year, with short-term assets the most likely to go. Grossman fits that bill, as he’s in the second season of the two-year deal he signed with Detroit in 2021. Unfortunately, his trade value is likely at a low ebb, due to his slow start to the year. After hitting .239/.357/.415 last year for a wRC+ of 114, he’s currently slashing .199/.311/.241 this year for a 71 wRC+. Last year’s 23.1% strikeout rate has also shot up to 30.7% this year. He and the Tigers will both surely be hoping that this current issue can be quickly left behind so that Grossman can get back on track. The Blue Jays tried to acquire Grossman at last year’s deadline, though they may not have as much interest now, based on his campaign so far.
  • Royals manager Mike Matheny tells reporters, including Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Starthat Zack Greinke is dealing with a forearm/flexor issue. Greinke himself spoke to reporters about the issue, including Worthydescribing his arm as “sore and tight.” Like the Tigers, there was some hope of the Royals coming out of their rebuild and competing his year, though that hasn’t happened. The club’s 16-30 record is worse than every team in the majors except for the 16-31 Reds, thanks in no small part to the starting rotation. The Royals’ starters had an ERA of 5.07 coming into today, which was better than only the Reds and Nationals. That’s going to go up once today’s game is factored in, as Greinke allowed five earned runs in four innings today. His personal ERA on the season climbed to 5.05 from that start, which would be his highest since the 5.80 he put up back in 2005, his age-21 season. While the severity of the injury isn’t known, it’s never a good sign for a pitcher to have an arm issue, though he and the club will surely hope he can get past it and onto a better track going forward.


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