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Trio of Twins hurt in series finale

Trio of Twins hurt in series finale

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KANSAS CITY -- Just when manager Ron Gardenhire thought he might finally have a healthy lineup, the injury bug struck again for the Twins.

A total of three players -- first baseman Justin Morneau, shortstop Nick Punto and catcher Mike Redmond -- left Wednesday's 5-1 victory over the Royals due to injuries.

It looked almost like a Spring Training contest as players started exiting in the middle innings. Redmond was knocked out of the game in the fifth when he was struck in the right forearm by a foul tip off the bat of Kansas City's Mitch Maier. Both Morneau and Punto exited following the sixth due to tightness in Morneau's left groin and tightness in Punto's back.

But Gardenhire didn't seem overly concerned about any of the injuries following the game -- particularly since the team has an off-day on Thursday to let some of the bumps and bruises heal before opening a three-game series with the Tigers this weekend.

"That's huge -- a night off tonight, a day off tomorrow and then we have all the way until Friday night before we play again," Gardenhire said. "Redmond looks really, really sore. But it sounds like Morny and Nicky will both be fine."

Gardenhire said Morneau first felt something in his groin during the series in St. Louis. Morneau said he was fine to play with it, but he felt it again when he stretched out for a double-play ball in the sixth. This time, Morneau decided it was best not to take any chance of injuring it further, so he came out of the game.

"I should be good to go by Friday," Morneau said. "We've got a day off, and I didn't want to make it any worse. I felt like if it was a ball to my right, I could control it somewhat, but if it's a play that I've got to dive for it or go after it, I felt I could have made it a lot worse."

Punto's injury occurred on the same double-play ball. He was hit hard while turning the inning-ending play that prevented another Royals run from scoring.

Gardenhire said the tightness was in the upper part of Punto's back, and it was just a little sore after the game. The manager said the training staff will check on Punto on Thursday to see if his back still is sore, but the hope is he also will be good to go for Friday's contest.

"It's just a little spasm. It's all right," Punto said. "It was more of a precaution -- one of those things where I don't think he would have taken me out if he knew everyone was going to come out."

It was Redmond who seemed the most banged up after the game. Redmond, who was replaced by Jose Morales behind the plate in the fifth, had X-rays on his right forearm, and they came back negative. He was diagnosed with just a bruise. Redmond's right forearm was wrapped as the team departed Kansas City en route to Minnesota.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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