Minnesota Twins

Quick return for Nelson Cruz will help Twins win AL Central

As the Minnesota Twins try to recapture a lead in the AL Central, the prospect of a quick return to action by Nelson Cruz will be a huge help.

After losing three out of four at home to the Cleveland Indians over the weekend, the Minnesota Twins have seen what was an 11.5-game lead in the AL Central dissolve into an outright tie entering Monday. To make matters a little worse, designated hitter Nelson Cruz left last Thursday night’s game with a left wrist issue and was placed on the Injured List.

Cruz has been diagnosed with a ruptured ECU tendon in his wrist, and he reportedly went to see a specialist on Monday in New York. He missed a month of action earlier in the season with the same injury, so the recurrence of the issue was automatically a substantial concern.

But the news is good on Cruz. He will not need surgery, and will resume baseball activities on Tuesday as the Twins prepare for a two-game series against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Cruz has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball since the All-Star break, with a 1.329 OPS, 16 home runs and 30 RBI over 106 plate appearances. That run has included two three-home run games in an eight-day span from late-July into August.

A precise timetable for Cruz’s return to the lineup should become clear later in the week. As he gets in the batting cage to hit, any residual effects of that work can be pinpointed and from there determined how quickly he can ramp up completely. He’ll have to serve out 10 days on the IL into next week at a minimum, but barring any setbacks a return soon after that is on the table and great news for the Twins.

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The Indians will have hard time maintaining their pace from the last two-plus months, with a tougher stretch of their schedule ahead. The Twins have an opportunity to get right themselves against a softer upcoming schedule, and having Cruz back quickly will be an important piece of what should be a stretch drive to the division title.

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