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Twins place star rookie SP Ryan on COVID-19 IL

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

Ryan was scheduled to pitch on Thursday against Kansas City. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Ryan was “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 with a 2.28 ERA in eight starts this year. Ryan has 14 walks and 42 strikeouts in 43⅓ innings with a .186 opponent batting average. He leads all major league rookies in wins and innings and is second in strikeouts.

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 10⅓ 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.”

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