The Minnesota Twins head into the weekend riding high after taking consecutive series from Cleveland and Boston but could be shorthanded Friday night when they open a three-game set with the Texas Rangers at Target Field.
Eduardo Escobar left in the fourth inning of Minnesota's 9-2 loss to the Red Sox Thursday after he took a Rick Porcello fastball to the right elbow.
The AL leader with 32 doubles this season, Escobar has been red-hot this month, batting .386 with an .800 slugging percentage in 70 June at-bats.
Manager Paul Molitor said Escobar would be re-evaluated Friday.
"He's sore and swollen," Molitor said. "I think it got the bottom of the triceps more than on the elbow. We tried to see if he was able to continue, and he gave it a go, but you could tell he was having trouble swinging in that second at-bat."
Eddie Rosario was scratched prior to the game Thursday with soreness in his right shoulder. He leads the team with 16 homers this season and has been having a good month as well, batting .357 with a .757 slugging percentage.
Rosario said he'd be back in the lineup against Texas and Molitor admitted resting the 26-year-old was a precautionary move.
"I just think we're trying to keep the big picture in mind," Molitor said. "So, we're gonna back him off. It's just one of those things where you think what you're doing is best for the player for the long term."
The Twins are already without second baseman Miguel Sano, who was optioned to Class A Fort Meyers to work on hitting the slider, and center fielder Byron Buxton, whose fractured toe has shown improvement but not enough to return from a minor league rehab assignment.
Missing all that firepower will leave right-hander Fernando Romero a much smaller margin for error as he takes the mound for his 10th career start.
Romero has cooled off since going 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA through his first four big league outings, going 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA over his last five. That number is somewhat skewed by an eight-run disaster at Kansas City back on May 30, but Romero's strikeout rate has plummeted from 9.11 per nine innings to 5.95 over his last four starts.
"Gosh, there's still a lot to like," Molitor said. "The way that he's been able to get the ball on the ground pretty consistently, especially the way he can get in on righties."
In his first start against Texas, Romero will face a Rangers' lineup that is feeling good after sweeping the Royals earlier in the week and has won five in a row overall.
Rougned Odor has been a catalyst for the Rangers' recent success. He was hitting .169 exactly one month ago but has batted .267 with a .761 OPS in the 26 games since to raise his average to .226.
"I believe he's progressively gotten better," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He's showed progress where we need him to show progress. Odor has been a significant player on this team and will continue to be a significant player."
Left-hander Mike Minor gets the start for Texas.
He held the Rockies to two runs over seven innings in his last outing, giving him a second consecutive quality start for the first time since earning six in a row for the Braves back during the 2014 season.
Friday will mark Minor's first career start against the Twins.
Copyright © 2018 TTWN Media Networks LLC