3 Twins pitchers who could make Opening Day roster after injuries to Jhoan Duran and others

Three pitchers are set to start the season on the IL, which means some roster spots just opened up.

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Bad news dropped like a hammer on Monday for the Minnesota Twins.

Byron Buxton was scratched from the lineup with lower back tightness, which is the sort of anxiety Twins fans would rather live without.

Derek Falvey noted that Buxton's injury was 'minor' and that he's not expected to an extended period of time. The fear was that Buck would end up on the IL to start the season, which will instead be the case for three other players on the roster.

Falvey announced that three pitchers -- Jhoan Duran, Caleb Thielbar, and Anthony DeSclafani -- would begin the season on the IL.

It's unknown how long their stints will be, but what we do know is that it opens up some roster spots ahead of Opening Day. Prior to the injury news it seemed like only one spot was truly up for grabs, but now the Twins have some options for how to move forward.

3 Twins who could make Opening Day roster after barrage of injuries

Jorge Alcalá

There was already a solid case to be made that Jorge Alcalá outright deserved a 26-mn roster spot, but the injuries to Duran and Thielbar clinch it.

Alcalá is looking at what might be his last true shot to prove he can belongs in the long-term plans, and he's already making the most of it this spring. After two rough seasons, plagued by injuries and poor performance, Alcalá is looking like the guy he was when he was tearing through batters at the turn of the decade.

So far this spring, Alcalá has a 2.16 ERA with 10 strikeouts and a 0.960 WHIP in eight innings of work. That's absolutely outstanding, and it's proof that his velocity is doing damage the way the Twins were hoping, with his fastball consistently clocking around 96 to 97 mph.

Back in 2019 he burst onto the scene with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.043 WHIP across three seasons. He hit some turbulance after that, suffering an injury and taking a step back that he didn't truly begin to recover from until now.

With Thielbar out of the picture for now, it'll be Alcalá who gets a chance to work his way into a setup role and make the case that he belongs in the bullpen even after everyone returns.