Matt Wallner out of Twins’ starting lineup again

18 July 2023

SEATTLE — The Twins recalled Matt Wallner in time to play in last Friday’s victory at Oakland, but as the team started its fourth game of this seven-game road trip, the outfielder from Forest Lake had yet to see his name on manager Rocco Baldelli’s lineup card.

Minnesota likes to recall players who will have a chance to play regularly, but in this case it might be difficult.

Wallner, 25, was called up for his third stint with the big league team after third baseman Jose Miranda was lost to an impingement in his right shoulder. A left-handed hitter, he joins a team that already has left-handed-hitting outfielders Max Kepler, Joey Gallo and Alex Kirilloff, plus switch hitter Willi Castro.

“You know,” Baldelli said, “we lose a third baseman, we get a left-handed-hitting outfielder.”

Optioned May 29 to the Saints after hitting .636 with a 1.692 OPS in his last four big league games, Wallner remained hot in St. Paul, hitting .308 with 11 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 31 RBIs, 20 walks and 34 runs scored in 36 games. But finding games to play instead of Kepler, a terrific right fielder, and Gallo, who leads the team with 16 home runs, will be tough.

The idea of bringing up a player to play, Baldlelli said, “Doesn’t even apply in this situation. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it’s much easier to get someone in the lineup. It’s just a very difficult spot to be in, because not only do we have one too many, you could almost argue that we have two too many left-handed-hitting outfielders when you look at the way we configure everything.”

Duran Duran … Duran

Closer Jhoan Duran earned the save in all three of Minnesota’s weekend victories over the A’s, so there was no way he was going to pitch against the Mariners on Monday.

If there was someone who thought he might, Baldelli said, “That would interest me and I’d like to talk to that person.”

When exactly the big right-hander with the 102 mph fastball might be available again was unknown on Monday.

“We’ll see,” Baldelli said. “We haven’t done it before, so I don’t know. I really don’t. We’ll talk to the pitching guys tomorrow and see how he’s moving around and throwing the ball tomorrow. The second half just started. We have a long run of games to start the second half, and we have plenty of games to go. We’re going to need him for a while.”

Duran said Saturday that he generally starts feeling stronger in the second half of a season. After his performance in Oakland, he has 15 saves in 34 appearances, 47 strikeouts and a 1.018 WHIP.

“He will be at the ballpark all day,” the manager said. “We won’t send him home to go lay down. He’ll be here. We’ll talk about tomorrow, though, tomorrow.”


The Twins started this four-game series in a park where three of their best hitters love to hit. Carlos Correa started the game hitting .359 in 53 career starts at T-Mobile Park and extended his hitting streak here to 10 games with an RBI double in the third inning. … Byron Buxton was hitting .375 with a .925 OPS in his previous 10 games here, and Donovan Solano hit .375 in his three career games at T-Mobile.

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