MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Gold Glove center fielder Torii Hunter has a broken left ankle that will keep him out at least a month and possibly the rest of the season, a major blow to Minnesota’s playoff hopes.

Hunter had an MRI and CT scan Monday, which revealed a small fracture in his ankle. He was injured in Boston on Friday night, when the four-time Gold Glove winner tried to make an acrobatic catch by scaling the right-center fence at Fenway Park.

The Twins initially feared Hunter had torn a tendon in the ankle, which probably would have required surgery and forced him out for the rest of the season. There is no tear, team spokesman Mike Herman said, but Hunter will be on crutches for three to four weeks.

It’s discouraging news for Minnesota, which loses its best defensive player and a leader in the clubhouse. Plus, Hunter’s 63 runs, 24 doubles, 56 RBIs and 23 steals are tops on the team. He’s batting .269 with 14 homers.

The Twins, who had lost eight of 10, began the day four games behind Oakland in the AL wild-card race.

AP-ES-08-01-05 1535EDT

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