MINNEAPOLIS – Gold Glove center fielder Torii Hunter has a broken left ankle that will keep him out at least a month and possibly the rest of the season, a major blow to Minnesota’s playoff hopes.
Hunter had an MRI and CT scan Monday, which revealed a small fracture in his ankle. He was injured in Boston on Friday night, when the four-time Gold Glove winner tried to make an acrobatic catch by scaling the right-center fence at Fenway Park.
Hunter’s spikes got stuck in the padding on the wall, and his ankle twisted awkwardly before he crumpled to the ground in pain.
“It’s like he has a dent in his ankle,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Not blowing anything out is pretty amazing, to tell you the truth.”
The Twins initially feared Hunter had torn a tendon in the ankle, which probably would have required surgery and kept him out for the rest of the season. There is no tear, team spokesman Mike Herman said, but Hunter will be on crutches for three to four weeks.
After he gets off the crutches, Hunter will need to go through rehabilitation for about two weeks before he can even consider returning to the field.
That would tentatively put a return date in mid-September. With the Twins struggling mightily since the All-Star break – they had lost four in a row and eight of 10 and began Monday four games behind the surging Athletics in the A.L. wild-card race – there might not be much of a season left by then.
“He’s going to be out a good amount of time,” Gardenhire said. “I’m not going to say he’s going to be out for the rest of the season because Torii bounces back pretty good. But you add it all up, and it’s close.”
It’s discouraging news for Minnesota, which loses its best defensive player and a leader in the clubhouse. Plus, Hunter’s 63 runs, 24 doubles, 56 RBIs and 23 steals are tops on the team. He’s batting .269 with 14 homers.
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