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Josh Willingham could be shut down with shoulder injury

Sep 28, 2012, 7:32 PM EDT

Josh Willingham Getty Getty Images

It’s increasingly likely that Josh Willingham has already taken his final at-bat for the Twins this year.

Willingham is currently shut down due to a sprained ligament in his left shoulder suffered when he slammed into the left field fence Monday while trying to catch a home run. John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that he still felt a “pinch” in his shoulder while trying swing a bat earlier today. With that in mind, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Willingham could miss the final six games of the season.

“We’re going to be very careful about this,” Gardenhire said. “I have to go by what he says, and right now he can’t play. And I don’t plan on putting him out there until he can do it. If anybody could play, he would play, but he doesn’t feel it right now.”

The Twins are out of the race, so there’s little reason to risk putting him back out there if he’s not 100 percent. Best to just start his offseason early.

Willingham is currently enjoying the best season of his career, batting .260/.366/.524 with 35 home runs, 110 RBI and an .890 OPS in 145 games played. The 33-year-old is owed $7 million in each of the next two seasons.

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