Polanco, among 16 sidelined Twins, could return next week

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The Twins have 16 players on the injured list. That includes second baseman Jorge Polanco, who had not been on the injured list in 710 games as a major leaguer before landing on it twice in the past three months.

It's not clear when several of the banged-up Twins will return to the lineup. But manager Rocco Baldelli indicated Saturday that Polanco could return by the middle of next week.

Polanco, batting .235 with 16 home runs and 56 RBI, went on the injured list on Sept. 3 with a sore left knee. He has always been willing to play through bumps and bruises, but it got the point where he needed to shut down and address his knee problem. Upon his return, the Twins will regain one of their most professional hitters who already has a career high in walks with 64. And the Twins hope a healthier Polanco will be more of a threat at the plate.

If Polanco indeed is ready by the middle of next week, he will be available next weekend when the Twins visit Cleveland for a critical five-game series.

Nick Gordon started at second base Saturday for the 12th time in the 13 games Polanco has missed. While Gordon has batted .326 with an .858 on base-plus-slugging percentage while Polanco is sidelined, a healthy Polanco is a boost to the lineup.

Nothing new on Buxton

There was no update on Byron Buxton, who has been on the IL since Aug. 23 with a strained right hip. He's not ready to resume baseball-related activities, which suggests he will be out at least several more days. Buxton injured his hip while compensating for right knee inflammation he has battled for much of the season.

Jake Cave made his season debut in center field Saturday. He had not played center for the Twins since Sept. 9 of last season, when he entered a game against Cleveland as a pinch hitter and remained in the game to play defense.

Faster, Archer, faster

Chris Archer broke into the majors in 2012 with Tampa Bay, an organization that encouraged its pitchers to take as much time between pitches as possible to maximize recovery and execute pitches.

The Twins produced an interesting nugget on Archer before Saturday's game. He was averaging 20.2 seconds between pitches with no runners on base, longer than the league average of 18.1 seconds. With runners on base, it was 24.3 seconds, worse than the league average of 23.3 seconds.

Pitchers of Archer's ilk will have to adjust next season to the pitch clock rules the league plans to implement. With no runners on base, pitchers will have 15 seconds to deliver a pitch.

Wind up for Winder

Righthander Josh Winder is expected to start Sunday in the series finale against Cleveland. He was on the IL earlier in the season with a right shoulder impingement but hasn't pitched for the Twins since July 12. One of the Twins' top pitching prospects, Winder is 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA.