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TWINS REPORT: Luis Arraez sits with hamstring issue but increases lead in race for batting title

With three games remaining for the Twins (and four for the Yankees), Twins infielder Luis Arrraez and New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge remain locked in a tight race for the American League

MLB: Game Two-Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
Minnesota Twins designated hitter Luis Arraez takes a swing at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 7, 2022.
Wendell Cruz / USA Today Sports
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DETROIT — Scoreboard-watching looks a little different this time of year than the Minnesota Twins might have expected — or hoped — it would. Instead of checking in on how the Cleveland Guardians or the Chicago White Sox are doing, as the season winds down, there are more than a few members of the Twins checking in on one specific person: Yankees star Aaron Judge.

With three games remaining for the Twins (and four for the Yankees), Twins infielder Luis Arrraez and Judge remain locked in a tight race for the American League batting title. Should Judge win, it would seal a Triple Crown for the 6-foot-7 slugger.

Count Twins shortstop Carlos Correa among those intently watching the race.

“It’s been a lot of fun to watch Luis, hitting behind him and watching him do his thing all year and be consistent,” Correa said. “It’s also been a lot of fun watching Judge try to break the record for the American League in home runs and also compete for MVP and Triple Crown and all that stuff that he’s up for. Obviously, I want my boy to get his batting title. He’s been great all year.”

Arraez, who holds a .31549 to .31127 edge over Judge with one series remaining, took a seat on Sunday as he continues to deal with a left hamstring issue that has been bothering him for some time now.

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While Arraez sat, Judge went 0 for 3 against the Orioles on Sunday, helping the infielder increase his lead in the race.

twins-mugs-luis-arraez-2022.jpg
Luis Arraez

“If he was completely healthy and fine to be playing, he would have been in the lineup (Sunday),” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That’s actually what we’re going to have to work through from here until the end of the year. We’ll be keeping a close eye on him. He’s been dealing with this to one level or another for a while now. It’s affecting his ability to run, his ability to defend, sometimes his swings. It does affect him. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t.”

Even while dealing with the hamstring issue in recent days, Arraez has been productive at the plate, rattling off a seven-game hitting streak. He has two hits in four of thes past five games he has played, including multi-hit efforts in his past three games.

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“Every guy in the clubhouse, every staff member, every person here gets excited every time he steps to the plate and every time he whacks one and it gets through the infield, you see the dugout come alive,” Baldelli said. “… He’s a really good player, and he’s a guy that we want this for — maybe not as much as him but pretty (darn) close.”

Briefly

The Twins optioned Ronny Henriquez to make room on the roster for rookie pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson. To make space on the 40-man roster, they transferred catcher Sandy Leon to the 60-day injured list. Leon underwent surgery earlier this week to repair his meniscus. … Woods Richardson is believed to have the longest name in major-league history — 15 letters and 16 characters. … Reliever Trevor Megill warmed up on Sunday but was pulled early after Baldelli said Megill had some tightness in his side.

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