With Opening Day under 10 days away, the last thing the Minnesota Twins need is for an injury to ruin the start of the season.
There’s a lot on the line this year, with the return of Carlos Correa amplifying the need for Minnesota to get over its two-decade long playoff drought and finally win a game in October. Expectations are juxtaposed against what happened last year, when the bottom fell out in Minnesota and the Twins finished with less than 80-wins and in third place.
Simply put, that cannot happen again in 2023.
All of that is to say, the pressure is on and the calendar has yet to flip over to April. When it does, the Twins might be facing those season-long expectations without the help of starting second baseman Jorge Polanco.
According to Phil Miller from the Star Tribune, there’s a growing concern that Polanco won’t be ready in time for Opening Day as the team remains cautious about overloading him in Spring Training.
Derek Falvey spoke with reporters about Polanco’s health and didn’t necessarily calm any anxieties about Polanco’s status for the start of the season.
""We've had [Polanco's knee] looked at, to make sure we're in a good place with him, a couple of times this spring," said Falvey, the Twins president of baseball operations. "He's been slowed a little bit. Just a little. But we wanted to make absolutely certain there is nothing wrong" in the knee, which sidelined him for the final month of the 2022 season."
Not great, but not as bad as it may seem.
The fact that the Twins are taking it slow with Polanco is absolutely the right approach, as he’ll be far more valuable to the team down the road as opposed to what he can do in April. Obviously getting off to a hot start is a nice way to begin a trek toward the postseason, but the Twins know all too well what can happen to a promising season once the injury bug chews into the lineup.
It’s not great to hear that Polanco might not be ready to start the season next week, but the Twins sort of planned for this. Signing Donovan Solano was a move meant to directly supplement Polanco, although the intention was likely more along the lines of helping him out against left-handed pitching than planning for him to miss the start of the season.
Either way, there’s a contingency plan in place that should help the Twins tread water while Polanco gets fully healthy.