One of the many questions the Minnesota Twins have as Spring Training opens is what the deal with Alex Kirilloff is.
The Twins first baseman had season-ending wrist surgery last August and his recovery hasn't gone as smoothly as everyone had hoped. It's not that he suffered any setbacks, but Kirilloff has been candid about where he's at in his recovery -- perhaps too candid for fans -- which has painted a picture that he might not be ready for the beginning of the season.
It would create a bit of a nightmare scenario for the Twins, who would have a leak in the lineup that wouldn't be ideal to plug.
According to Twins beat writer Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com, all signs point to such a scenario not coming to pass. Kirilloff appears to be on track to return to full strength as Opening Day approaches.
“No setbacks, no concern,” Falvey said. “AK has been in a great spot. Our strength guys said [the wrist is] probably in as good of a spot as they’ve seen him coming into camp, where he’s at. The early returns on swinging are very positive.”
That gust that just blew past your window wasn't the wind, it was Twins fans everywhere exhaling. The status of Kirilloff has been a source of major anxiety across Twins Territory, and was heightened by trading away Luis Arraez.
Without Arraez, Kirilloff is the only major line of defense at first base. There's no obvious backup plan if he were to have suffered some sort of setback or if something happens to him down the road. Joey Gallo has spent time at first base but not this decade; Jose Miranda could be viewed as an option but that creates a hole in the lineup on the other side of the infield.
The most likley candidate to step up for Kirilloff is Kyle Farmer, which is a great option but not something the Twins would like to roll out every day. A Kirilloff-Farmer-maybe Gallo platoon at first seems nice enough on paper and is something that has kept the Twins from going after a free agent like Luke Voit or Yuli Gurriel.
Kirilloff not suffering any setbacks and being on track to be healthy on Opening Day, though, goes a long way in easing some serious stress. While fans were worried about what the immediate future might hold,