Opening Day is right around the corner, but injuries are already impacting the Minnesota Twins starting lineup.
Last year was a disaster thanks in large part to how hard the team was bitten by the injury bug. A number of factors played into the lackluster season, but injuries no doubt played a role. Now, before a new season has even started, the Twins are preparing for two key starters beginning the year on the injured list.
According to Betsy Helfand from the Pioneer Press, the Twins will be without both Alex Kirilloff and Jorge Polanco for at least the first week of the season.
The potential nightmare scenario has come to fruition, although it might not last long.
Minnesota starting the season without Kirilloff or Polanco isn't great but it's not totally unexpected. The situations aren't created equally, though, as one is far easier to navigate than the other.
How will Minnesota Twins replace Jorge Polanco?
Polanco hasn't played at all in Spring Training but there was some hope that he'd be able to get some time in late and be on track to start the season healthy. There was some recent doubt that he'd be able to make his debut on Opening Day, but it now appears as though the team will need to figure out a plan at second base for the first 10 days of the season.
Replacing Polanco in the lineup won't be too big of a strain. Donovan Solano was brought in to help account for some offensive help against left-handed hitting -- an area where Polanco struggles -- so the idea of him playing second base was already in the plan, even if this isn't exactly how things were drawn up.
How will Minnesota Twins replace Alex Kirilloff?
The situation over at first base is a little trickier, and is the nightmare scenario fans were hoping didn't come to pass. There's cause for serious concern when it comes to Kirilloff's health, as the question mark regarding his wrist is now being projected into the sky like Batman Forever.
It's not that Kirilloff's wrist isn't healthy now, it's a question of if it will ever be as healthy as it needs to be. This injury goes all the way back to 2021, when he tore some ligaments that then required surgery last August. There's potential light at the end of the tunnel, as Kirilloff has reportedly been rehabbing with some minor league spring games at Lee County Sports Complex, but he hasn't yet shown enough to make anyone feel comfortable about his wrist.
Replacing him is much trickier than replacing Polanco. The Twins could slide Jose Miranda over to first, but he's dealing with his own injury concerns regarding his shoulder. That would require Kyle Farmer to play at third to replace Miranda, which is fine but depletes some of the Twins situational depth.
Of course, this is why the Twins have the depth they do, so at least there's some sort of plan to make up for the loss of Kirilloff and Polanco even if it's a less than ideal way to start the season.