Twins News: Jorge Polanco takes major step toward returning from IL

San Francisco Giants v Minnesota Twins
San Francisco Giants v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

Fo as great a start to the season as the Minnesota Twins have had, they’re doing it without one of their best players in the lineup.

Jorge Polanco began the season on the 10-day IL after suffering knee soreness in Spring Training. He didn’t play at all at Fort Myers when the Twins were there, but he nevertheless made his season debut there — albeit a few weeks later than hoped.

It was announced on Thursday that Polanco would be making his season debut with the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, the Twins Low-A affiliate.

This was the first action that Polanco has seen since season ended early last year due to issues with his knee. He didn’t need surgery to fix anything, but the soreness he felt in Spring Training held him back from being able to participate and forced him to start the year on the IL.

He didn’t play a full game for the Might Mussels, but managed five innings of work.

When will Jorge Polanco return to Minnesota Twins lineup?

This is a good sign and seems to indicate that Polanco is gearing up to make his debut with the Twins in the near future. There doesn’t seem to be an urgency in rushing him back. Polanco’s health for the long term is far more important than whether or not he can help the team in April.

Despite making his debut in the minors, it could be that we don’t see Polanco back in the Big League lineup until May. The name of the game is precaution, which is what Derek Falvey preached back in March when talking about the prospect that Polanco might miss Opening Day.

"He hasn’t been able to do all the leg activities and all the legwork and all the running and all the strength and conditioning stuff that everybody would at this stage, so some of it’s just responding to where he is from a timing standpoint," Falvey said. "Obviously, the calendar plays a role now as we get closer and closer to Opening Day.

For what it’s worth, the Twins have gotten off to a decent start to the year without Polanco in the lineup. Minnesota swept the Royals and scored 11 runs against the Marlins before losing its last two games. A series against the Houston Astros — the first of the year at Target Field — will go a long way in telling fans if the hot start to the year was closer to what the team will be this year or just an early season fluke against a bad team.

With Polanco rehabbing, Nick Gordon has stepped up and started at secon in all but one of the Twins games so far this year.