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Twins (and Saints) pitcher Josh Winder staying flexible with constantly shifting role

An injury of his own, a shoulder impingement, cost him a month of the season, and since returning healthy, he has been back and forth between the majors and the minors.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Josh Winder (74) throws the ball against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois, on July 5, 2022.
David Banks / USA Today Sports
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CHICAGO — A rookie season is filled with plenty of learning lessons for a young player. For Josh Winder, perhaps the most prominent lesson is to remain flexible.

After the Twins made a move late in the spring to sign Chris Archer, Winder began the season in the bullpen. But he soon stepped into the starting rotation for a few starts in response to others’ injuries. Then, he moved back to the bullpen.

An injury of his own, a shoulder impingement, cost him a month of the season, and since returning healthy, he has been back and forth between the majors and the minors.

“After the last time I threw in Cleveland, (manager) Rocco (Baldelli) just said, ‘Stay ready,’ and that’s kind of the approach that I have to take,” Winder said. “I just have to be ready whenever the opportunity comes. That’s kind of how it’s been all year this year. Definitely learning how to be adaptable and flexible with my routine. But staying ready and (continuing) to get my work in whether that’s in St. Paul or here. Any part of the United States, really.”

Winder was optioned to Triple-A after making three rehab starts with the Saints, but wound up making his next two starts with the Twins anyway. He rejoined the team as the 27th man in the doubleheader last week in Cleveland against the Guardians and then traveled back to meet the Saints. Tuesday, he was recalled after Archer’s hip tightness forced him to the injured list.

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The right-hander was scratched from his scheduled Monday Triple-A start and given a little more than a day’s notice that he would be traveling to Chicago to start for the Twins against the division-rival White Sox.

While the constant changes in role or location might not be easy, Baldelli said he feels as if Winder is up for the task.

The rookie has a 3.12 earned-run average in his nine major-league appearances — five of them starts — spanning 40 1/3 innings. In his last one, on Tuesday, Winder ran into some trouble late in his outing but managed to walk away having given up two runs in five innings pitched.

“On the mental side, I think he can handle it. On the physical side, I think he can handle it. I don’t hesitate to put him in these spots,” Baldelli said. “… I know what we need and what we need him to do, and he’s taking care of business. He’s doing everything that we’ve asked and he’s doing it pretty well.”

BRIEFLY

Chris Paddack, who has been rehabbing from his Tommy John surgery in the Dallas-area, will meet up with his teammates in Texas over the weekend when they head to Arlington to take on the Rangers. … Juan Minaya, who the Twins designated for assignment earlier in the week, has cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Triple-A St. Paul. … Top prospect Austin Martin was placed on the injured list Wednesday at Double-A Wichita after hurting his left elbow diving for a ball. The Twins are optimistic the injury is not a long-term issue. …Baldelli said Carlos Correa was not available to pinch hit in Wednesday’s 9-8 loss to the White Sox, dealing with leg tightness. The Twins wanted to give him a day off coupled with Thursday’s off day and they expect him to be good to go for their upcoming series against the Rangers. … Alex Kirilloff left Wednesday’s game after tumbling over first baseman Andrew Vaughn, but was said to be OK.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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