Injury Notes: Mahle, Meadows, Walker, Johnson

The Twins certainly breathe a sigh of relief, announcing to reporters on Thursday that an MRI has revealed a right-hander Tyler Mahleashoulder to be structurally healthy. Mahle, who was acquired from the Reds earlier this month in exchange for three prospects, left yesterday’s start after just 2 1/3 innings due to shoulder fatigue. That was particularly worrying as he also missed time in July with what the Reds termed a ‘minor’ shoulder injury. For now, there are no plans to put Mahle on the 15-day injured list, although it is not yet clear whether his next start will be pushed back at all.

Mahle’s start on Wednesday saw his fastball clock in at about four miles per hour, lower than his typical 93.4 mph average, so there’s still clear concern, but the absence of a tear or structural problems is about the best news on which the Twins could have hoped. In 14 1/3 innings as a Twin, Mahle threw to a 2.51 ERA with a strikeout rate of 23.1% and a walk rate of 7.7%. Mahle, Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy line up to make the majority of the Twins’ starts, though they expect a right-hander Bailey Ober back in september and just promoted prospect this week Simeon Woods Richardson from Double-A to Triple-A.

Some more notable injury scenarios from across the league…

  • As if it couldn’t get any worse for the Tigersmanager AJ Hinch announced this week that outfielder Austin Meadows was again pulled from drug addiction (link via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News). Meadows first made it to the list of injured due to vertigo-like symptoms in mid-May and returned just under a month later. However, that return lasted just eight games before being placed on the Covid-related injured list. Just as Meadows was gearing up for drug addiction, he was moved to the 10-day injured list due to the bizarre diagnosis of an Achilles tendon in both legs. This is now the second time Meadows has discontinued a rehab assignment for this injury. Hinch’s only update was that Meadows was on his way to Detroit for re-evaluation and the Tigers still have hope that he can return in 2022. It was a nightmare of a season for Meadows, who was limited to just 147 at bats and saw his power disappear: .250/.347/.328.
  • Mets beats Taijuan Walker left his most recent start due to back spasms, with an MRI revealing a slight bulge in his lower back, reports Anthony DiComo of However, it is possible that he could make his next scheduled start on Sunday. Walker tells DiComo that he is “shocked” that he feels so good so soon after experiencing “the worst pain I’ve ever felt”. While he’s feeling better, he still won’t go up the hill on Sunday unless he’s feeling 100 percent. per DiComo. If he is indeed reinstated, that would be a great gift for the Mets given the current pressure on their rotation. Of Carlos Carrasco recently landed on the IL and the Mets with a double cup on Saturday, it would certainly be a challenge to get through Sunday without Walker. How his back reacts in the coming days will determine whether the club can avoid that tricky scenario.
  • Scouts savior Pierce Johnson going on drug addiction, tweets Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune. Johnson had a great season for San Diego a year ago, throwing 58 2/3 innings with a 3.22 ERA and strikeout 31.6%. The Friars had a $3 million club option on Johnson’s services this year, which they exercised based on last season’s strong performance. Sadly, Johnson ended up in the IL in April due to elbow tendinitis. He has yet to return, meaning he has only played six games this year. After a hiatus of about four months, it looks like he’s healthy enough to get back into shape. Once he is ready to return to the big league club, he should give the bullpen a boost for the final few weeks of the season.

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