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Quick Hits: Castro, Kiermaier, Velasquez, Duvall, Chang


The Mets and Red Sox each “pushed hard” to sign Willi Castro this past offseason, Darren Wolfson of SKOR North reports (Twitter link), but the utilityman chose to sign a minor league deal with the Twins.  The move has nicely paid off for both the player and the team, as Castro has hit .258/.324/.452 over 103 plate appearances for Minnesota, with two of his four home runs coming in today’s win over the Blue Jays.  Castro’s versatility has also been a boost to an injury-riddled Twins club, as he has seen action as a shortstop, second baseman, third baseman, and in all three outfield positions.

More from around the baseball world as we wrap up a busy Saturday…

  • Vince Velasquez was activated from the 15-day injured list earlier today, but the Pirates right-hander allowed four runs in two innings before being removed from the game due to discomfort in his right elbow.  Velasquez had previously been sidelined by inflammation in that same elbow, and while he is being examined by doctors, it would seem likely that he might be headed back to the IL.  If Velasquez is again out of action, it would continue Roansy Contreras’ time as a starter, since Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported earlier today that Contreras could be headed into a relief role.
  • Kevin Kiermaier made an early exit from today’s Twins/Blue Jays game due to some lower back discomfort.  Toronto manager John Schneider told Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and other reporters that Kiermaier was feeling sore after a pair of throws, and “with how important he is to us, we wanted to be safe and make sure we didn’t make it worse.”  Kiermaier will receive further examination and is day-to-day for now.  In his first season with the Jays, Kiermaier has been outstanding, hitting .319/.366/.511 over 154 PA while delivering his usual high-level defense in center field.  Given Kiermaier’s long injury history, it makes sense why the Blue Jays would err on the side of caution, and it’s probably safe to assume that Kiermaier won’t play Sunday since Toronto also has a Monday off-day for additional rest.
  • The Red Sox told reporters (including Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe) that Adam Duvall is set to begin a Triple-A rehab assignment on Tuesday.  Duvall was sidelined by a fracture in his left wrist, and a subsequent move to the 60-day IL means that June 9 is the outfielder’s earliest possible return date.  Duvall was off to a huge start prior to his injury, posting a 1.544 OPS in his first 37 PA of the season.  While Duvall is on the road to recovery, Yu Chang’s rehab assignment has been paused due to some soreness in his left hand while swinging.  Chang has missed just over a month due to hamate bone surgery, and his setback isn’t expected to delay his rehab work by any more than a few days, pending further examination.

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