1989: A Painful Day for the Twins

May 15, 1989

The Twins had gotten off to rocky start in 1989, but looked as though they might be righting the ship by mid-May. After an 11-18 start, the Twins had won five consecutive games, including sweeps of the Red Sox in Boston and the Blue Jays at the Metrodome.

On May 15 it looked as though that all changed. The Twins started a three-game series with the red hot Kansas City Royals at the Metrodome. Mark Vancil covered the game for the Star Tribune:

A five-game winning streak came to an end and another solid start by Roy Smith was wasted, but the Twins’ biggest loss came long before the final numbers flashed on the Metrodome scoreboard Monday night.

Willie Wilson’s first home run in a year provided Kansas City with a 4-3 victory, but it was an injury to first baseman Kent Hrbek that brought down a dark curtain on another troubled evening.

Hrbek suffered a dislocated left shoulder diving for a ground ball in the fifth inning and will be put on the 15-day disabled list today. He popped the shoulder back in place on the field but Dr. John Steubs, who examined Hrbek in the clubhouse, said Hrbek would be unable to do anything for the better part of a week.

Executive vice president Andy MacPhail met with trainer Dick Martin and manager Tom Kelly behind closed doors after the game to decide on the impending personnel move. With the toughest part of the schedule ahead and second baseman Wally Backman out another week, another injury on an already thin team was the last thing the Twins could afford.

Vancil added an ominous stat from the early part of the season:

Going into last night’s game, they were 12-4 with him at first base and 4-14 with him on the bench or at designated hitter.

The Twins actually fared pretty well in Hrbek’s absence. Hrbek was on the DL for a total of 39 games, with the team going 21-18 over that span. The Twins played roughly .500 ball the rest of the season to finish 80-82.

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