Twins Alex Kirilloff ‘optimistic’ but still adjusting after wrist surgery
The outfielder had a cortisone shot on April 14 and was activated from the injured list on May 6
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins outfielder/first baseman Alex Kirilloff has hit OK since returning from the 10-day injured list because of soreness and inflammation in his right wrist, .333 (4 for 12) since May 7. But the Twins’ first-round pick in the 2016 amateur draft said he’s still adjusting to hitting after surgery aimed at mitigating nagging soreness in the wrist.
“Overall, I can swing,” he said before Friday night’s game against the Cleveland Guardians at Target Field. “I feel like I can be effective, but I still feel like I’m in a little bit of a transition period to figuring it out after the surgery.”
Kirilloff had season-ending surgery last July but returned for spring training but in 10 games through Thursday didn’t have a single extra-base hit in 32 plate appearances. He had a cortisone shot in the wrist on April 14.
The issue, he said, is “a joint where the cartilage is pretty much gone,” causing bones to rub together. Doctors shaved some of that down to create space, he said, but he still feels it sometimes.
“I feel optimistic still,” he said. “I think it feels better than what it did before the shot, so all I can do is keep up what I’m doing in the training room and keep up what I’m doing with my rehab. Hopefully it kind of works itself out.”
Kirilloff said he was told of another correctional procedure called an ulnar shortening osteotomy, which literally shortens the ulna to stop the bones from meeting. First, he said, doctors have to break the bone.
“The timeframe for that is pretty large for recovery,” he said. “I really hope it doesn’t get to that.”
Old pal, new skip
After a COVID outbreak among members of the coaching staff forced a postponement on Wednesday at Chicago, the Guardians played Friday without manager Terry Francona and placed one of their best hitters, Josh Naylor, on the COVID injured list.
The Guardians scrambled to put together a coaching staff from healthy big league coaches and some minor league staff. Pitching coach Carl Willis, who won a World Series with the Twins in 1991, is acting manager. Asked who would manage if he got ejected, Willis laughed.
“I’m not getting ejected,” he said. “I still can’t afford that.”
Falling somewhat under the radar during the Twins’ double-header on Thursday was the Twins’ move to put starter Chris Paddack on the 60-day injured list. The right-hander has been out with elbow inflammation since pitching just 2⅓ innings in a 4-3 victory over Oakland on May 8.
Paddack, 26, declined to be interviewed on Friday.
“We’re still working through some opinions on the medical side as far as what exactly the right course of action is at this point,” Baldelli said. “It could certainly lead to being a surgical set of circumstances and all that. But, we don’t know exactly what we’re dealing with yet. I think we have a good idea but I think we’re still gathering opinions.”
The Twins were hoping right-hander Dylan Bundy could be activated from the COVID injury list and start on Saturday against the Guardians. That won’t happen, Baldelli said.
Instead, the team will call a pitcher up from St. Paul to make the start, likely against Cleveland righty Shane Bieber (1-2, 4.13 ERA).
Bundy was placed on the COVID list along with infielder Luis Arraez. Baldelli got it, too, and he and Arraez returned Thursday. It’s been tougher on Bunday, the manager said.
“Physically, he just needs some time to work his way back,” Baldelli said.
Outfielder Kyle Garlick, on the 10-day injured list with a strain in his left calf, started what the Twins hope is a short rehab assignment at St. Paul on Friday. Baldelli said if all goes well, Garlick will likely join the team for a trip to Oakland and be in the lineup Monday against A’s left-hander Zach Logue. … Right-hander Cole Sands, who pitched two innings in a 5-0 loss to Houston on Thursday as the Twins’ 27th man, was placed on the Saints’ seven-day IL with a groin strain.
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