After missing the past couple of months due to injury, Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia have returned to the Minnesota Twins lineup and have provided power that the team very much needs.
With Sam Fuld still on the disabled list with concussion-like symptoms and Daniel Santana out with an eye laceration, there is one question that I have come to consider: could there be a pattern forming when it comes to injured players returning to the lineup with a whole new power?
On April 6 in a game against the Cleveland Indians, Willingham obtained a fractured wrist and had been on the disabled list ever since. Prior to leaving the lineup, Willingham went 4-for-16 in five games, including two home runs, four walks, and four RBIs.
Since returning to the lineup on Monday, Willingham has hit three home runs, two of them coming against the New York Yankees.
Arcia is in a very similar position. After missing a majority of the season due to a wrist injury of his own, he has contributed additional power to the lineup. Since Monday, Arcia has hit three doubles and two home runs, one of them coming in the 6-1 win against the Yankees.
And, other than having a similar injury, Willingham and Arcia have one other factor in common. Both did not get in much playing time before going on the disabled list.
Now there are two other Twins on the disabled list who are relatively in the same position as Willingham and Arcia.
Fuld has been on the disabled list since May 8 after having concussion-like symptoms. Before leaving the lineup, Fuld had a .250/.291/.365 average in 52 at-bats in 13 games. In that time, Fuld had three stolen bases and 13 hits, which includes six doubles and three RBIs.
After returning from a concussions specialist on Thursday, Fuld has been able to play catch at Target Field and hitting off a tee. According to Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony, Fuld’s return is still unclear and all depends on when his symptoms clear up.
In Santana’s case, he received a cut above the eye in an attempt to steal third base in Friday’s game against the Yankees. In the process, Santana’s helmet came off while he slid headfirst and caught him above the eye.
With his eye still swollen on Saturday, Santana sat out of the game and Aaron Hicks took his spot in the lineup. The Twins staff was still cautious with Santana on Sunday, and his return to the lineup is listed at any day.
Before the injury, Santana had a .375/.432/.475 average in 40 at-bats in 15 games. In that time span, Santana had two stolen bases and 15 hits, which includes four doubles and three RBIs.
Compared to other players in the roster, both Santana and Fuld have not had as much play time before obtaining injuries.
So, my question is, could they do what Willingham and Arcia did? Could they return to the roster with a new and bigger power than before they left?
In short, my best guess is to wait and see. There is a likely possibility that they could do what Willingham and Arcia did, but at the same time, it could be too early to tell. Hopefully they can bring something to the table, as the Twins need as much help as they can get if they hope to catch up and overtake the Central Division.