The Twins will open the season with second baseman Jorge Polanco and corner outfielder/first baseman Alex Kirilloff on the 10-day injured list, tweets Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. Recent reports had suggested that was under consideration for both players, neither of whom has gotten into a Spring Training game.
Both players finished the 2022 campaign on the shelf. Polanco was hampered by a left knee issue that cost him the season’s final month. The organization doesn’t seem overly concerned — president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said a couple weeks ago that Polanco might be ready for Opening Day — but symptoms have lingered into exhibition play and kept him from ramping up as expected. He’ll at least require a week and a half into the regular season to be ready for meaningful game action.
Kirilloff’s injury might be more worrisome considering his history. The 25-year-old has battled problems with his right wrist for the past couple seasons. His 2021 campaign was cut short when he underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear. That didn’t put the issue to bed, as he felt continued discomfort and required a second surgery last August. That ended his season prematurely again and Falvey suggested earlier this month that Kirilloff has been behind schedule as he builds back.
Minnesota has a fair amount of position player depth types who could step into larger roles early in the season. Utility player Nick Gordon has plenty of second base experience. He suffered a high ankle sprain earlier in the spring but has since played five games after a two-week absence. He seems on track to be on the Opening Day roster. The Twins also signed veteran infielder Donovan Solano to factor in at first and second base and have veteran Kyle Farmer as a multi-positional option off the bench.
Kirilloff had been the favorite for the season-opening first base job. That could now fall to Solano and Joey Gallo, who could step in from his expected corner outfield role. That would likely open a roster spot for left fielder Trevor Larnach, particularly since the Twins are planning to play Michael A. Taylor regularly in center field to keep Byron Buxton at designated hitter early on.
Oh God it’s not the obliques please don’t let it be the obliques
Bring up the Canadian Crusher… Edouard!
Sadly it already looks like Kirilloff’s never going to shake the injury bug. A real shame given the promise he showed in the Minors.
I was excited for his clear path to get the pencil at 1st base this year. Damn shame, rooting for him
There aren’t any reports of Kirilloff experiencing more pain in the wrist, and it’s not all the surprising that his ramp-up isn’t going as fast as hoped after the surgery he had. And considering what he has gone through, it’s very much worthwhile for him to proceed cautiously until he’s fully confident in the wrist.
Now, if the pain returns, then he’s probably a lost cause. But at this point, there’s reason for optimism.
And so it begins.
I guess maybe move Miranda to 1st base once you figure out what to do with Julien, Lee, and eventually Lewis and Martin.
Having his arm bone shortened (ulna) to create space where all the cartilage was worn away at age 25 was an extreme, last ditch effort procedure. To see Kirilloff struggling with pain over 6 months after the procedure isn’t a good sign for his career at all. Tough break.
Polanco seems like he’s on the road to a surgical intervention as well. If 6 months off wasn’t enough to get his knee tendonitis to calm down, I can’t see how another week or two will fix it.
I think we are seeing the advantages of the depth moves made in the off-season.
I am still not sold on Gallo though and I hope I am wrong.
I think Gordon, Farmer, Larnach, Julien, Lee, eventually Lewis and even the rotation depth has so much upside.
If one of the regulars is having a devastating season or an injury some of our depth has comparable upside to the starters.
We still I believe are an ace and one more compete hitter that can balance OBP, BA and Power in a consistent way away from a serious contender. There is a lot of swing and miss on the lineup. Perhaps a healthy Buxton can put it all together and Correa can step up at the same time. I just don’t know who the ace is that can be our Jack Morris for the playoffs. Perhaps the a team that overspent like the Mets or Rangers will land in mediocrity and we can get one of their aces in a trade for a stretch run. Not likely but one can dream.
Depth is nice, but the “depth” guys are rarely much better than prospects or AAA journeymen.
Gordon is a starting caliber MLB player at this point, he’s only depth because the Twins couldn’t trade Kepler.
Larnach I’m not sold on at all. His history suggests throwing anything other than a 4 seamer or curve at him is a guaranteed out. Add in his injury prone nature, a line drive swing producing singles and doubles rather than home runs because of his limited speed and a low value defensive contribution. It all adds up to me being very reserved on his career. It does seem like he’s a very high IQ player, great instincts, and committed to hard work (he dropped weight and truly added speed). Larnach seems to be the type of person I really appreciate on a baseball team, but he has to prove he can hit more pitches (slider, changeup, sinker).
I was skeptical of Lewis, but man did he show his stuff last year before getting hurt again. Not sure what’s going on with him. He’s already sprinting and doing lateral movement drills. He’s taking live batting practice, but not allowed to swing I guess. Seems like he’s honesty in his final stages and could be ready to go almost any time, but the Twins are playing it like this is the NFL and Lewis is the starting quarterback.
Side note, Jack Morris was an average-ish pitcher who had a career year with the Twins in 1991, and he was still only the 3rd best starter on that team behind Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson. Morris had a great game 7. We have like 4 starters better than Morris on the team right now. Any one of them could have a great game.
“The Twins will open the season on a trip to obscurity.”
Kirilloff to IL get used to hearing that one
He, Buxton and Polanco should get plenty of fishing in this summer.
I don’t think you will. I expect he’ll probably be forced to give the game up, unfortunately.