Twins’ Rocco Baldelli: White Sox players ‘seemed very eager’ to empty bench

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CHICAGO — When the Twins’ bench emptied to meet a charging White Sox bench on the mound late Friday, manager Rocco Baldelli was leading the way.

Chicago’s bench unloaded after Twins closer Jorge Lopez hit batter Andrew Vaughn on the left shoulder, on his first pitch, to load the bases with one out in a 3-3 game.

When informed that he looked very angry during the melee, Baldelli said Saturday, “Well, I don’t know what the emotion was. I mean, their dugout emptied. Our dugout didn’t empty.”

Not immediately. Vaughn was hit in roughly the same spot by Guardians pitcher Trevor Stephan in Cleveland on Aug. 20, and that pitch ricocheted off his shoulder and hit him in the mouth. “I know he didn’t do it on purpose,” Vaughn said after the game, but when he expressed his displeasure, Lopez exploded — something, he said after the game, he was embarrassed about.

The teams met on the mound and mostly exchanged course language before order was restored. The game ended when Jose Abreu hit a grounder to second — deflected by Lopez’s glove — that couldn’t be turned into an inning-ending double play.

It was a wild end to a tight game, and the White Sox seemed to be waiting for a reason to rush the field.

“Their dugout emptied, and they seemed very eager, or some of them seemed very eager to run out on the field,” Baldelli said, “and they ran right up onto our pitcher’s mound. So, I didn’t like that. And so, you’ve got to get in there and do what you can to stop it. I mean, that’s really it.”


The Twins brought infielder Jermaine Palacios from Class AAA Saint Paul to Chicago on Saturday in case he was needed in Sunday’s series finale at Guaranteed Rate Field. He was activated even sooner than that.

Veteran infielder Jorge Polanco, who has missed the Twins’ past six games with patella tendinitis in his left knee, was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Aug. 31, minutes before Saturday’s 6:10 p.m. start.

The team had been holding off on an IL stint in the hope that it could get him back before the 10-day required absence. Polanco was seen doing calisthenics with teammates before Saturday’s game and was scheduled to take ground balls and hit, as well.

“We’re a full week into this now. I think we’re pretty close to having to make a decision one way or the other,” Baldelli said before the game. “If he’s pretty close to playing, we want him to play. But if he’s not, we may be close to making a move.”

Palacios, who is hitting .283 with an .803 OPS in 101 games for the Saints, made his major debut on May 31 and has hit .208 (5 for 28) with two runs batted in in eight games with the Twins.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins placed catcher Ryan Jeffers (thumb) on the 60-day IL. He is eligible to be reinstated on Sept. 15.


Right-hander Sonny Gray, pulled after four innings in Friday’s 4-3 loss because of a tight left hamstring, said he felt good on Saturday and that he hopes to make his next scheduled start against the Yankees on Wednesday in New York.

“I don’t see why that wouldn’t be an option, for sure, but I don’t want to speak too much,” he said. “I still have to talk to the manager and probably go through some things, so I don’t want to come out here and start saying things.”

In 21 starts, Gray is 7-4 with a rotation-leading 3.10 earned-run average. He said the tightness is in the same area as a hamstring strain that forced him to miss three weeks early this season, April 16-May 7, but added, “It’s much, much better than the last thing, even though it’s in a similar spot. I feel good with it.”


The Twins on Saturday reinstated Tyler Mahle from the injured list (shoulder inflammation) so he could make his fourth start for the Twins on Saturday night. To make room on the 28-man active roster, the Twins optioned left-hander Jovani Moran back to Class AAA St. Paul.

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