It sounds like the Twins are ready to welcome Jason Kubel back from the disabled list after he went 3-for-5 with a homer at Triple-A yesterday and 1-for-3 with a walk there today.
Kubel has been out since May 30 with a sprained foot and his rehab timetable got delayed by setbacks several times, but Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that he’s scheduled to fly to Minnesota tonight and could rejoin the Twins’ lineup as soon as tomorrow.
Kubel was Minnesota’s most productive bat prior to the injury, hitting .310 with an .820 OPS in 52 games, and with Denard Span and Justin Morneau still on the DL the Twins’ lineup can certainly use a boost. Trevor Plouffe figures to lose the most playing time upon Kubel’s return, which while understandable is a shame because he was looking more and more intriguing as a potential late-blooming former first-round pick.
If the Twins can ever get healthy and stay healthy the rest of the thoroughly mediocre AL Central could be in serious trouble, as Minnesota is just five games back despite starting the season with an MLB-worst 17-37 record.
The Giants have acquired All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia, the club announced on Thursday night.
Nunez, 29, went 0-for-4 in Thursday night’s game against the Orioles. He’s hitting .296/.325/.439 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 49 runs scored, and a league-best 26 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances this season. Nunez has played mostly at shortstop this season, but has also logged significant time at third base and a handful of games at second base, so he’ll give the Giants some versatility.
Nunez will likely play a lot of third base for the Giants as Matt Duffy is still sidelined with a strained left Achilles. He’s earning $1.475 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility heading into 2017.
Mejia, 23, was considered the Giants’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento last month after posting a 1.94 ERA with Double-A Richmond. In seven starts with Sacramento, he has a 4.20 ERA with a 43/11 K/BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings.
With a roster spot open, the Twins called up infield prospect Jorge Polanco from Triple-A Rochester, per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.