Hunter placed on 15-day disabled list

Hunter placed on 15-day disabled list

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins will be without center fielder Torii Hunter for at least a couple of weeks, as an MRI performed on Sunday revealed a stress fracture in the fourth metatarsal of his left foot.

The Twins placed Hunter on the 15-day disabled list and selected the contract of outfielder Josh Rabe from Triple-A Rochester to take his place on the 25-man roster.

Hunter recently had been experiencing pain in the foot after tweaking it about a month ago. He was able to play through the pain for most of that time but was forced to leave Saturday's game after the second inning when he could no longer run. Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Hunter was close to tears because of the extreme pain.

The MRI showed that the fracture is in the process of healing itself, but the timetable for Hunter's return is a bit in question. Gardenhire expects Hunter to be back in about two weeks, as he is eligible to come off the DL on July 31, but similar injuries to other players have often taken at least a month to properly heal.

"We decided that rather than him trying to play through something like that, it's better to put him on the DL and let this thing heal," Gardenhire said. "If we were in the World Series, he could probably try to get through it, but this is not the time to do it."

This marks the second straight season that Hunter has missed time because of an injury. On July 30 of last year, he broke his left ankle in a game at Boston and had to undergo surgery, forcing him to miss the final two months of the season.

The news of Hunter's recent injury was especially difficult for the Twins, as he is the third outfielder to be placed on the DL in the past four days. Lew Ford left Thursday night's game with a strained right oblique muscle, and Shannon Stewart was placed on the DL on Saturday night after re-injuring his left foot.

Without Hunter, the Twins will have a gaping hole in center field. Hunter has started in center for 87 of the Twins' 90 games this season, batting .269 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs.

Nick Punto has filled in for Hunter at center during the past two games, but with the addition of Rabe, it appears that Punto will go back to third base, with Jason Tyner getting most of the starts in center.

Tyner has started in left field on both days since his callup but was Rochester's starting center fielder for the entire start of the year.

"He's one of the best center fielders in the game, so it's going to be tough to lose him," Tyner said of Hunter. "I'm just going to try and hold down center field while I can."

For now the Twins will have to deal with a banged-up outfield, as Jason Kubel himself is not 100 percent due to lingering soreness in both knees.

Stewart underwent an MRI along with Hunter on Sunday, and it was revealed that he aggravated the partial tear in the plantar fascia of his left foot. It is the same injury that has caused him to miss 33 games this season. Exactly how long Stewart will miss time is unknown, but it seems as though it will be prolonged.

"I think this is something that is going to be pretty lengthy, to tell you the truth," Gardenhire said. "I don't think this is going to be something that is two weeks."

Rabe is expected to be in uniform for the Twins' 7:10 p.m. CT game on Monday against the Devil Rays.

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