Garver enters spring training fully healthy after he struggled with an intercostal last season that he says limited him more than he thought after video review, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. "It was probably one of the better offseasons I've had just as far as strength, mobility and being healthy coming into camp," he said. Garver's 2020 season could hardly be more different than his 2019 breakout season. Garver went from hitting 31 home runs with a .630 SLG, to struggling with injuries, being lost at the plate, and slugging just .264. It's a good sign he's back to full strength, but his 2019 season may have been unsustainable anyway due to a 29 percent HR/FB rate. The Twins are likely to limit Garver's playing time to keep him fresh. He'll likley split playing time with Ryan Jeffers, who established himself in Garver's absence, even though both hit right-handed.
Garver signed a one-year, $1.875 million contract with the Twins on Wednesday to avoid arbitration, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports. The 29-year-old was set to enter his first year of arbitration but instead reached a deal with Minnesota. Garver struggled during the shortened season with a .511 OPS and 45.7 percent strikeout rate, but he's only a year removed from putting up a .995 OPS and 31 homers during the 2019 campaign.
Garver is not in the lineup for the first game of the AL Wild Card Round against the Astros on Tuesday. Garver finished the year with a very disappointing .167/.247/.264 slash line in 23 games. Ryan Jeffers will start behind the plate, catching Kenta Maeda.
Garver is not in the lineup Sunday against the Reds, Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com reports. Garver takes a seat for the second straight contest while going 4-for-21 with a homer and 14 strikeouts over his past six games. Alex Avila starts behind the plate in the final game of the regular season.
Garver will sit Saturday against the Reds. Garver hasn't come close to repeating his .995 OPS from his breakout 2019 campaign, as his .498 OPS this season is barely more than halfway to that mark. He's remained the Twins' top option behind the plate when available, however, but not by a particularly large margin. Ryan Jeffers will be the catcher Saturday.