April 15: An MRI did not reveal any new damage for Kirilloff, Baldelli tells reporters (Twitter link via Helfand). Kirilloff received a cortisone injection to help with the inflammation and discomfort. Baldelli expressed some optimism that eventually, Kirilloff should be able to “manage and do some maintenance” on the wrist while continuing to play through the issue.
That’s not a terribly encouraging update, though it’s at least good news that there’s no new injury at play for the promising young outfielder. Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com adds that it does not appear Kirilloff will be shut down for too long.
April 13: The Twins have placed outfielder Alex Kirilloff on the 10-day injured list due to inflammation in his surgically repaired right wrist. Fellow outfielder Trevor Larnach is up from Triple-A St. Paul in his place.
It’s a concerning development for the Twins and Kirilloff, whose 2021 season ended after he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in that same wrist. Manager Rocco Baldelli told Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and other reporters that the discomfort in Kirilloff’s wrist didn’t pop up after one particular swing but just slowly crept back up (Twitter link).
Kirilloff, 24, was the No. 15 overall draft pick back in 2016 and ranked among the game’s 100 best prospects from 2019-21 as he climbed the minor league ranks. MLB.com rated him as the sport’s ninth-best prospect heading into the 2019 season. Kirilloff made his Major League debut for the Twins in the 2020 postseason and made his regular-season debut in 2021.
After a brutal first eight games in terms of results, the hard contact Kirilloff had been making began translating into production. From April 30 through the time of his season-ending IL placement last year, he slashed .270/.322/.460 with eight homers, ten doubles and a triple in 205 plate appearances. Kirilloff actually sustained the wrist injury in early May, which resulted in a nearly three-week stay on the injured list. He returned and remained generally productive, but his power began to dip, and the pain in his wrist eventually became too much to play through. Minnesota announced on July 21 that Kirilloff would undergo surgery.
The obvious hope for the Twins is that the injury this time around will prove to be nothing more than inflammation, though Kirilloff will undergo further evaluation before determining the full extent of the injury. The short-term impact of the injury is notable, but the most important issue for the Twins and for Kirilloff will be to put the injury behind him once and for all — to whatever extent that’s possible. Kirilloff has the makings of a potential building block for the Twins, evidenced by his lofty draft status, prospect rankings and his career .318/.366/.503 slash in the minors.
In place of Kirilloff, the Twins will turn to the 25-year-old Larnach. Like Kirilloff, he’s a former first-round pick (20th overall in 2018) and top-100 prospect who has the potential to serve as a key lineup piece for years to come. Larnach is a career .292/.375/.451 hitter in the minors and got out to a strong start in his big league career in 2021, with his initial call-up also coming as the result of a Kirilloff injury. Larnach hit .262/.361/.445 with seven homers and nine doubles through his first 191 plate appearances, but he fell into a catastrophic late slump and batted just .156/.255/.188 over his final 110 trips to the plate.
Larnach had a big Spring Training, hitting .294/.400/.706 with a pair of homers and a double in 20 plate appearances. He’s out to a poor start in St. Paul so far (2-for-19), but he’ll now be thrust back into the big league spotlight and hope to recapture that early-2021 form. He’ll share time in the outfield with fellow prospect Gilberto Celestino and former first-rounder Nick Gordon, who got the nod in left field today with Kirilloff heading to the injured list.