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Red-hot Twins pitcher Joe Ryan cooling his heels on COVID list

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli confirmed the announcement, saying Ryan would miss his scheduled start Thursday against Kansas City.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins placed starting pitcher Joe Ryan on the COVID-19 injured list Wednesday, bumping the surging rookie from his upcoming turn in the rotation.

Ryan was scheduled to pitch on Thursday against Kansas City. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Ryan is “doing OK.”

The 25-year-old right-hander, who made five starts last season after being acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay, is 5-2 in 2022 with a 2.28 ERA in eight starts. Ryan has notched 42 strikeouts and 14 walks in 43 1/3 innings, stifling opponents with a .186 batting average. 

Ryan leads all major league rookies in wins and innings and is second in strikeouts.

RELATED: Ryan strong, Twins' bats heat up

The Twins recalled left-hander Devin Smeltzer from Triple-A St. Paul to take Ryan's spot in the rotation. Smeltzer made two earlier starts for the Twins, winning one, with a 1.74 ERA in 10 1/3 innings. He pitched last Friday before being sent down for the return of Bailey Ober from the injured list, a back-and-forth move he has grown accustomed to since debuting in 2019.

“It gets worse. You want to stay, the longer you’ve been around. Your first year, you’re kind of playing with house money. You go up and down and you’re just happy to be here," Smeltzer said. "Once you start to feel more comfortable here, perform, then it gets harder and harder once you get sent back down.”

The Twins have won six consecutive games, are 27-16 and leading the A.L. Central Division, 5.5 games in front of the second place Chicago White Sox.  

Already in this young season, infielder Luis Arraez, pitcher Dylan Bundy and manager Baldelli have lost games to COVID. 

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