MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Twins host the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 1 of the American League Wild Card Playoffs on Tuesday at Target Field, and questions remain about who will be on the roster for the series.
The deadline for the Twins and Blue Jays to submit their rosters is 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Twins have decisions to make with shortstop Carlos Correa, third baseman Royce Lewis and outfielder Byron Buxton.
Correa said Monday, before the Twins worked out at Target Field, he’s been able to do pretty much everything since landing on the injured list for re-aggravating the plantar fasciitis in his foot. He’s played through it since May, and hit .230 with 18 homers, 29 doubles and 65 RBI in 135 games. He also struck out 131 times. Based on Correa’s words Monday, he’ll be on the roster.
"I’m not going to put excuses of how my season went just because of the foot. It’s something I’ve dealt with since May when it happened, and it was tough to deal with. But I feel a lot better now, I feel ready to go for the playoffs and that’s all that matters. It’s time to go," Correa said.
Lewis didn’t sound quite as optimistic speaking in the Twins’ clubhouse. He’s been on the IL dealing with a hamstring strain. He played in 58 regular season games and hit .309 with 15 homers, including four grand slams, and has 52 RBI.
He said his availability for the Wild Card series will come down to how he feels Tuesday morning. He’s itching to play after two seasons of dealing with an ACL tear.
"Yeah I’m confident in my ability to be aware of my body and where I’m at. It’s not like the knee where I might have felt good and fine, but the knee is an ACL. You’re out for a year," Lewis said. "This is something where it is off of a little bit more feel, but I also don’t want to push it. We’ll see where we’re at tomorrow morning," Lewis said. "Progressively like a little bit better each day, but it’s not significant to where I’ve got a big smile on my face like secretly I’m going to be locked in and balling out. We’ll see where we’re at tomorrow."
So what about Byron Buxton? He played 85 games in the regular season, all at designated hitter as he dealt with an ailing knee injury. He recently got a cortisone shot for it, and did a rehab stint with the St. Paul Saints that included work in center field.
In 85 games at DH, he hit .207 with 17 homers and 42 RBI. Buxton was not on the field for Monday’s workout. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Monday they haven’t made decisions on any of their players on the injured list.
"I’m not going to discuss each and every one of them and exactly where they sit and how likely they are to play this week. I don’t have every single one of those answers as we sit here right now, we have a pretty good idea but we don’t have that completely figured out because we have more time to make those decisions," Baldelli said. "We’re going to set our lineup tomorrow when he hit that deadline, we’ll know the answers then."
PABLO LOPEZ READY FOR GAME 1
The Twins took a swing in the offseason, trading Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins for high-end starting pitching in Pablo Lopez. He went 11-8 in 32 starts with a 3.66 earned run average and 234 strikeouts in 194 innings.
He’s getting the mound for Game 1 on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
"It means a lot. These are the guys that as a kid you dream of. Having the opportunity to perform in a playoff situation and do it for the Twins, it means the world to me," Lopez said.
He’s also well aware of the Twins’ playoff struggles. While the Twins have World Series titles from 1987 and 1991, they have lost 18 straight playoff games. They haven’t won a playoff series since 2002, a span of 21 years. He was asked about that on Monday.
"Well I’ve heard about the 0-18 thing a lot, and just like anything in life, nothing lasts forever. I feel like if there’s a group that can lean into this opportunity and embrace it, I can tell this group is as good as any to go out there and give the team, the fans, the community the opportunity to celebrate something," Lopez said. "We’re going to use it as motivation and fuel we want and need. The goal is to win the championship. I think it’s going to come down to taking the field tomorrow and the games after that with a chip on our shoulder and then wanting to put on a good show for them.