Luis Arraez heard the Target Field crowd chanting “M-V-P!” after he hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s eventual loss to the Guardians. He liked the way it sounded, even though he said Wednesday he’s not quite sure a hitter like him could win that coveted award.
“My little (arm) hairs started coming up,” he said. “I don’t believe it, but I hear some people say that. I’m excited for that.”
Arraez entered Wednesday leading the majors with a .362 batting average and .442 on-base percentage, although he doesn’t put up the power numbers that MVPs typically boast. His home run on Tuesday was his fourth of the year, although he also has a grand slam to his name this season.
But what about another, more attainable honor?
Arraez has never made the All-Star Game but has more than made his case this year. He was listed on the ballot as a first baseman and was fourth at the position in the American League in voting behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays), Ty France (Mariners) and Anthony Rizzo (Yankees) as of Tuesday’s first voting update.
But while nobody is likely to top Guerrero in popularity, the Twins clubhouse firmly believes Arraez deserves to be in Los Angeles for the game next month — and he hopes he’s done enough to make a compelling case for his inclusion.
“I want to be there. I want to go there,” Arraez said. “But there’s a lot of people voting, and I don’t know if they want to vote for me. I hope they do because I think I’ve had a really good season. I think I need to be there.”
Asked last week which Twins he thought deserved to be at the Midsummer Classic, manager Rocco Baldelli immediately pointed to Arraez and Byron Buxton before rattling off the names of a few teammates. Buxton was sixth among outfielders on Tuesday, the only Twins player currently in place to move on to the second round of voting.
But while the Twins are unlikely to have a starter at the game, both have a chance to make their first All-Star Game, and being selected, Arraez said, would mean a lot for him and would be a “gift” for his family.
“Everybody wants to be an all-star,” he said. “I want to be there, 100 percent. If not, I need to continue playing hard, working hard every day. I’ll be excited to be in LA.”
Bailey Ober is hopeful that by the end of the week, he’ll be back throwing off the mound. It’s been a long journey back to that point for the right-hander, who first landed on the injured list at the end of April with what the Twins called a right groin strain.
Ober made three starts upon his return before winding up on the IL again. This time, he had magnetic resonance imaging taken, which revealed an aponeurotic plate injury, which he described as a tendon pulling on the bone in his pelvis. Ober said he was feeling good upon returning, but after his last start in Detroit on June 1, the soreness lingered on, prompting the MRI.
“It was definitely frustrating, and more so on not being out there for the team since I tried waiting and tried being patient the first time around and then that still didn’t work,” Ober said. “It’s more frustrating on that side instead of me actually being hurt.”
While he’s not sure when exactly he’ll return, Ober expects he’ll have to make at least one rehab start before he does.
“Hopefully sooner rather than later,” he said. “(I’m) just trying to not push it and try to not make it worse.”
Miguel Sanó (knee) is progressing well. He has begun to hit in Fort Myers, Fla., where he is rehabbing after having meniscus surgery. He is expected to take live batting practice next week. … Jorge Alcala (elbow) is currently doing strengthening exercises and his throwing program is set to resume next week. … Randy Dobnak (finger) has been playing catch at 120 feet. He recently threw a 15-pitch fastball-only bullpen at 75 percent effort and came out of that feeling good.