Rocco Baldelli returns as Twins host Royals

MLB Kansas City

Manager Rocco Baldelli will return to the dugout on Friday night when the Minnesota Twins open a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals in Minneapolis.

Baldelli has been on paternity leave since the Twins’ 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla. His wife, Allie, gave birth to their first child, a six-pound, eight-ounce baby girl named Louisa Sunny Baldelli, early Tuesday morning in Minneapolis.

Longtime coach Bill Evers, 67, who is retiring at the end of the season and was Baldelli’s Triple-A manager with the Durham Bulls in 2002, took over as acting manager for the team’s four-game series in Cleveland. The Twins went 3-1, capped by a 4-1 loss on Thursday night.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Rocco, see the big smile on his face with the newborn,” Evers said. “We’ll get back to communicating between me and him. He’ll get a better feel for what went on when we were in Cleveland after we have discussions about it. It will be good to have him back.”

In Cleveland, the Twins saw rookie right-hander Joe Ryan pitch 6 1/3 perfect innings before allowing a single in his second major league start, a 3-0 victory, on Wednesday.

Bailey Ober and Michael Pineda teamed up to allow two runs on eight hits over seven innings in a 5-2 win in Monday’s opener. John Gant pitched five shutout innings and Alex Colome picked up his third save in three games in a 3-0 win on Tuesday.

“It’s awesome,” Evers said of his brief managerial stint. “It was a great experience. … It was a lot of fun for me. The players played hard, and I was happy with the results.”

Twins right-hander Griffin Jax (3-3, 6.79 ERA) will continue his audition for a starting spot in 2022 in Friday night’s opener. Jax, who has lost two of his last three starts, faced the Royals in his first major league start, on July 3 in Kansas City, and took the loss while allowing six runs on eight hits over five innings.

The Royals, who won 6-0 on Thursday night to split a four-game series at Baltimore, will start rookie left-hander Daniel Lynch (4-4, 5.29) against the Twins.

Lynch will face the Twins for the first time in his career. He is coming off a 10-7 loss to the visiting Chicago White Sox on Saturday night. He allowed six runs on five hits, including home runs to Luis Robert and Yasmani Grandal, over 2 2/3 innings.

After a tough 9-8 loss Wednesday night that saw Baltimore score nine times in the eighth inning, Kansas City bounced back Thursday for a 6-0 win over the Orioles. Carlos Hernandez allowed just three hits over six innings and improved to 5-0 with a 1.68 ERA in his last eight appearances.

Shortstop Nicky Lopez reached base for the 19th consecutive game, going 3-for-5 with a home run. He has five multi-hit performances in his last six games.

“It’s one of the great stories in the game, in my opinion,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Lopez, who is batting .297 with two homers, 19 stolen bases and 38 RBIs. “The guy didn’t make our club coming out of spring training and now he’s leading our team as far as batting average goes, his OPS, his quality at-bats in tough situations and leverage, and two-out RBIs. … He’s such a bright spot. He’s really turned into a very well-rounded major league player.”

–Field Level Media

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