The Twins announced Thursday that they’ve placed right-hander Sonny Gray on the 15-day injured list due to a right pectoral strain. The move is retroactive to May 30, so Gray will be eligible to return on June 14. Right-hander Yennier Cano is up from Triple-A St. Paul to take Gray’s spot on the active roster.
It’s the second IL stint of the season for Gray, who also missed time during the first month of the year due to a hamstring strain. He’s been excellent when on the mound, registering a 2.41 ERA with a 29.8% strikeout rate and a 7.5% walk rate — both strong marks that are well better than league average. Gray has thus far managed just 33 2/3 innings, however, which is surely less than the Twins envisioned when acquiring him in a March trade with the Reds that sent prospect Chase Petty to Cincinnati.
Gray joins Joe Ryan, Chris Paddack, Josh Winder, Kenta Maeda and Randy Dobnak on a crowded Twins injured list and leaves the Twins with a current rotation mix of Dylan Bundy, Devin Smeltzer, Bailey Ober and Chris Archer. It’s not a group that’s going to jump off the page at first glance, but the Twins rank sixth in the Majors with a 3.34 ERA and third with a 3.38 FIP their starting staff.
Minnesota has gotten solid performances from Bundy (aside from one disastrous outing), Ober, Archer and Smeltzer in particular as of late. Still, Gray and Ryan are the clear top options on the Twins’ staff, so being without both righties is problematic. Ryan is currently on the Covid-related IL and working toward a return. Manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters today that Ryan is “a tick behind” outfielder Gilberto Celestino, who’s also on the Covid list but has now received two negative tests and is meeting the team in Toronto tomorrow (Twitter link via Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). The Twins are currently deciding whether he’ll need a rehab start.
Strong as Minnesota’s starters have been to begin the season, it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Twins venture out into the trade market to further bolster the staff in the next two months. The Twins, eight games over .500, currently lead their division by five games and sport the fourth-best run differential (+29) in the American League.