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Twins’ Jeffers theorizes on his MLB-leading stat

HOUSTON – Ryan Jeffers entered Saturday with the seventh-most doubles in the American League, the ninth-most extra-base hits and the seventh-highest slugging percentage.

He's unaware of any of that. But Jeffers knows that he leads all of Major League Baseball in one category.

"Nobody gets hit by pitches as much as me," the Twins catcher said, and though technically that's not correct — Cleveland's Andrés Giménez was hit three times in the last 10 days of May to tie Jeffers with 10 entering Saturday — he expects to regain the lead eventually.

But he's not exactly certain why.

"I think I just stand in there longer than most guys when a pitch comes inside. I don't really get out of the way," he said. "I'm like an armadillo. I just pull my arms in and take it."

Not that he's trying to get hit, even though he's already matched last year's 10. Maybe, he theorized, since he's become a more dangerous pull hitter, pitchers try to crowd him more.

Whatever the reason, "guys throw too hard nowadays for me to want to get hit," he said. "Baseball's a weird sport. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I get hit by the pitch."

Tied for second on the team with four HBPs are Byron Buxton, Willi Castro, Kyle Farmer and Matt Wallner — Wallner played in only 13 games before getting sent down to the Saints

No worry to Paddack

A noticeable drop in velocity is alarming in any pitcher, let alone one who twice has had a ligament in his pitching elbow replaced. But Chris Paddack said it's nothing he hasn't experienced before.

"I'm kind of going through a dead-arm stage right now," the Twins righthander said after giving up four runs in 5⅔ innings against the Royals on Thursday at Target Field. "Had a couple of 89s [mph] in there to start innings — that's not me. So I'm using this week to make sure we stay on top of the recovery stuff."

A "dead arm" sounds serious, but it's not unusual for pitchers to experience a little extra fatigue midway through a season. In Paddack's case, he has now thrown 61 innings this year, the most work he has had since 2021.

"It's going to be a thing I'm going to have to deal with. The ball still feels like a bowling ball out there," Paddack said. "I've always had kind of that dead-arm [feeling] at the end of May, early June."

His manager said the team and its training staff are not concerned, and Paddack remains on schedule to start Wednesday's game at Yankee Stadium.

"This is a normal phase that lots of pitchers go through. I think he's fine," Rocco Baldelli said. "I don't think the ball is coming out of his hand the way he wants. It's certainly something he was thinking about because when I took him out of the game, he started to explain what was going on."

Etc.

• When Carlos Correa caught Yordan Alvarez's fifth-inning line drive Friday, Jose Altuve, Correa's close friend and longtime Houston teammate, put his hand up in Correa's direction as he retreated to first base. Was it some sort of signal? "It was. He didn't want me to throw it" in an attempt to double him up, Correa said. "He didn't want to get hit."

• The Saints blew an early four-run lead in an 11-8 loss at Rochester. Twins top pitching prospect David Festa gave up five runs on six hits and three walks in four innings, striking out five. Michael Helman had four hits and Wallner hit a three-run homer for the Saints.

Staff writer Bobby Nightengale contributed to this report.