The Twins will place outfielder/first baseman Brent Rooker on the 10-day injured list with a cervical strain in his neck and select the contract of left-hander Brandon Waddell from their alternate training site today, the club announced. Hard-throwing young righty Edwar Colina was transferred from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Waddell. Colina is dealing with inflammation in his right elbow.
Rooker, 26, was the No. 35 overall pick back in the 2017 draft and has had some rough luck early in his big league career. He burst onto the scene with a .316/.381/.579 slash through seven games last summer before sustaining a fractured forearm when he was hit by a pitch. That injury ended his season, and Rooker will now head back to the injured list after just appearing in just three games in 2021.
Rooker is a bat-first prospect who isn’t likely viewed as the team’s long-term answer in left field, but his power bat is still expected to get a legitimate audition when he’s healthy. He can shift between first, left field and DH, and given that his most recent minor league work in 2019 produced a .282/.399/.530 batting line in 67 games between Double-A and Triple-A, it’s not hard to see why the organization is bullish on him. The Twins did not give an immediate indication as to how long the new injury is expected to sideline Rooker.
As for the 26-year-old Waddell, an eventual big league audition with the Twins appeared likely after the former Pirates farmhand turned heads in Spring Training. Waddell yielded five runs in 9 1/3 innings, but he also struck out 15 of the 36 hitters he faced (41.7 percent) and showed what the Twins felt was a demonstrably improved arsenal. Minnesota claimed him off waivers from Pittsburgh at the end of the 2020 season and managed to sneak Waddell through waivers in late February, but his absence from the 40-man roster proved brief.
Waddell has a pair of minor league options remaining, so the Twins will be able to send him down to their alternate site in St. Paul without exposing him to waivers for a second time. For now, he’ll join Taylor Rogers and Caleb Thielbar as a third lefty in manager Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen.