Twins' Maeda leaves after hit by 111 mph line drive on ankle

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Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (18) receives assistance on the field in the second inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Thursday, April 20, 2023, in Boston. Maeda left a game after being hit by a line drive in the left ankle. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON – Kenta Maeda was coming out of the game.

But first, he wanted to get the out.

The Twins right-hander took a 111 mph line drive off his left ankle in the second inning of Thursday's 11-5 loss to the Red Sox. He steadied himself with his hands, then pounced on the ball to get Boston batter Jarren Duran for the third out.

Maeda then collapsed onto his back and rolled onto his side.

“I am not surprised to see him, on one leg” making the play, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You get nervous when guys are doing that and their leg might be broken. Honestly, I’d prefer he not damage himself trying to do that. But he is highly competitive, and he’s not going to stop playing until that leg stops moving.”

The Twins training staff rushed out to attend to Maeda, who was able to walk off the field on his own after a few minutes. The team said Maeda had a left ankle bruise and X-rays were negative.

“I wasn’t sure if I cracked the bone or not. It just happened so quickly,” Maeda said through a translator. “I saw the ball drop right in front of me, and my first instinct was grab the ball, throw the ball, get the out. ... You saw me collapse after making that play, so there was excruciating pain there.”

Baldelli said he hadn’t decided what to do with his rotation, but the Twins play 10 more games before their first off day on May 1.

“The decision-making on Kenta will be a logical, medical decision based on how he’s doing,” Baldelli said. “We don’t know those answers today.”

Maeda, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, said there was swelling, but he would see how he feels on Friday.

“There’s no bone damage,” he said. “I don’t expect to be out for a very long time.”

The play ended the second inning. Emilio Pagan came in to start the third and gave up six runs in the inning, including Duran's two-run double off the Green Monster.

Having used long reliever Brent Headrick for three innings in a 10-4 win on Wednesday, Baldelli went with third baseman Willi Castro to get an out in the eighth.

“I was highly impressed by his bullpen session in Fort Myers,” Baldelli said with a straight face, then declined to reveal whether he was joking or not. “I watched him throw about 10 eephus pitches in a row and the catcher’s glove didn’t move. And I thought, ‘I’ve never really I’ve never seen someone be able to do that before.’”

Castro opened with three pitches that didn't top 45 mph and were identified on the scoreboard as “sliders.”

“I will not watch it later,” Baldelli deadpanned.


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