Twins catcher Mitch Garver spent much of Wednesday recuperating at the team hotel in Baltimore following a Tuesday night procedure after suffering what manager Rocco Baldelli described as a “severe groin contusion.”
Garver was struck by a foul tip during the first inning of Tuesday’s game and immediately doubled over in immense pain. He left the game and was accompanied to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he underwent the procedure, by a team trainer.
“This is about as painful of a situation as I think you could really ever see,” Baldelli said.
While Baldelli said he did not believe it was a 60-day injured list situation — Garver was put on the 10-day injured list and Ryan Jeffers was summoned from Triple-A — the manager said it’s going to “be probably be a bare minimum of a couple of weeks before we see him.”
“With the procedure, I think there was a belief that after they went inside, took a look and made sure he was doing OK, he actually came out of it pretty good,” Baldelli said. “I think the outcome of the procedure was a little better than what was originally anticipated, so that was positive.”
Garver posted on Instagram on Tuesday morning that he stayed the night in the hospital and that he was “recovering well,” after a “successful surgery was performed.”
In his absence, Jeffers, Ben Rortvedt and Willians Astudillo will see time behind the plate. The Twins had initially planned a 50-50 playing time split between Garver and Jeffers to begin the season, but both slumped at the plate in April, and the Twins optioned Jeffers to Triple-A on May 3.
Garver, since that point, had hit .275 with a .448 on-base percentage and a .549 slugging percentage. Jeffers, too, found benefits to being sent back to the minors after a little bit of initial frustration.
“Once that little cloud cleared, it was very obvious to me that it was a really good decision for me and for the Twins just to get me down there and playing consistently,” Jeffers said. “I needed at-bats and I was having a hard time here finding a sort of rhythm and I think it worked really well for Mitch, too. Once he started getting those ABs every single day, he started killing it. It kind of worked really well. It was a blessing in disguise.”
Jeffers, who slashed .147/.216/.176 in 11 games with the Twins before being sent down, said he’s in a better groove now, having found his rhythm just a couple days after returning to the minors.
It sounds like he’ll have a good chance to stay in that groove.
“Ryan is going to find his way out on the field a lot. He’s going to get out there, get a chance to play. We’ll get him out there at times playing consecutive games, maybe three games in a row at times,” Baldelli said. “…Ryan will get a good number of at-bats and get a nice opportunity to get out there and get in a rhythm.”
Refsnyder out, Celestino up
Garver wasn’t the only player to land on the injured list on Wednesday. The Twins also placed center fielder Rob Refsnyder on the seven-day concussion injured list two days after he ran straight into the outfield wall at Oriole Park at Camden Yards chasing after a home run ball.
Baldelli said Refsnyder was doing better on Wednesday than he was on Tuesday but was still showing some symptoms, necessitating the move.
Refsnyder, who had never played center field in the majors until mid-May, had taken on that role full time as of late due to the absences of Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jake Cave. With Garver and Refsnyder landing on the IL, the Twins now have nine players sidelined with injury.
To fulfill center field duties, the Twins called up Gilberto Celestino, their No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, just days after he had been officially added to the Triple-A Saints’ roster.
Celestino, 22, had to clear COVID-19 protocols at Triple-A, which he did on Monday, before he could be called up to the majors. He becomes the sixth player the Twins have used in center field this season behind Buxton, Cave, Kepler, Refsnyder and Kyle Garlick, who started there on Tuesday after Refsnyder was scratched.
Celestino was hitting .250/.344/.381 in 21 games for Double-A Wichita before his promotion. He did not appear in a game for the Saints before being called up.
“Cellie’s an easy guy to pull for, the way he handles himself as a young player,” Baldelli said. “…He’s a very cerebral, young guy. He carries himself kind of like an older individual. He’s got a good contact bat. … He’s a very good-looking young player. I’ve always enjoyed watching him go.”