Grossman out 5-7 days with groin tightness

Santana returns from Classic; Kepler back in lineup after pinkie abrasion

Grossman out 5-7 days with groin tightness

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Twins outfielder Robbie Grossman is expected to be out five to seven days with tightness in his right groin suffered while diving for a ball in Sunday's game against the Red Sox, manager Paul Molitor said Monday.

Grossman, competing to be the club's fourth outfielder, is expected to have enough time to return before the end of Grapefruit League play next week with Opening Day exactly two weeks away.

"They're thinking five to seven, so if we can get somewhere in that range, it still gives us a chance to get him ready to play," Molitor said. "It was kind of an awkward dive. It just continued to tighten on him."

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Grossman, a switch-hitter, has batted .243/.326/.351 with four doubles and three RBIs in 16 games this spring after being a pleasant surprise last year when he hit .280/.386/.443 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs in 99 games. He's also worked hard with outfield coach Jeff Pickler to improve his defense.

"He's had a good camp," Molitor said. "He's done things he did last year. His offensive numbers, obviously are better right-handed. But good at-bats. He slows the game down in the box and takes a lot of pitches, which is good for us. And he's worked really hard with Pick to get better out there and I think it's showed up."

Worth noting

Ervin Santana returned to camp on Monday after pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday. He'll throw a bullpen session on Tuesday before starting again on Friday, which continues to line him up for Opening Day.

• Right fielder Max Kepler, who suffered an abrasion on his right pinkie during a slide Saturday, returned to the lineup on Monday. He went 1-for-3 and scored a run in Minnesota's 8-2 win over Toronto.

• The Twins continue to try different lineups, including Byron Buxton hitting third for the first time this spring. Molitor said Buxton is more likely to hit leadoff or ninth, but he could develop into a No. 3 hitter with his budding power.

• Non-roster first baseman Ben Paulsen left Monday's game after his foot was accidentally kicked by Toronto's Jonathan Davis at first base in the ninth. Molitor said Paulsen suffered no structural damage and is expected to be OK.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.