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Minor League Health Report

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On Tuesday, Twins minor leaguers need to report to spring training camp. Tomorrow, they will get going with their first official workout. With 66 players currently in big league camp (40 roster, 26 non-roster minor leaguers), another 120 or more players will report for minor league camp. This includes players in the rookie leagues on up.

There are going to be a lot of stories from minor league camp that we’ll be following here throughout camp. You will hear plenty about Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Aaron Hicks, Alex Wimmers, David Bromberg, Anthony Slama and other top prospects, but we will also make a point to talk about players that you may not otherwise hear about.

Today, I wanted to start by writing about several players who missed time in 2011 due to injury. Some of these guys missed the whole year. Others were shut down early. Each of them will be worth following through minor league camp to see how they are progressing and where they wind up. Here they are in no particular order:

Kyle Gibson – RHP – The news has been very good to this point for Gibson. He was shut down in July last year, and he had Tommy John surgery in September. Last week, Terry Ryan surprised many by saying that Kyle Gibson will pitch in 2012. He is doing very well on his rehab program. Just yesterday, he threw from 60 feet. Since Gibson had his surgery, he has talked about following the Stephen Strasburg timeline. That puts him back on a mound before mid-season and potentially making rehab appearances by July. It would be ideal for him to make several starts somewhere in 2012 so that he can have a normal offseason in preparation for spring training of 2013.
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Dallas Gallant – RHP
– Gallant signed late in the 2010 season after a strong showing in the Cape Cod League. In April of 2011, he had Tommy John surgery. He recently said, “I’m doing great! Arm feels strong. Threw to batters for the first time last Friday, and it went really well.” He is a little over 10 months from surgery. There will likely be no restrictions on him in spring training, but the organization will likely limit his innings this season. There is a chance that he will head to Beloit to open the season, but with Tommy John and the Beloit April weather, I would think he’ll start at Extended Spring Training and move up to Beloit as the weather warms up. Gallant is a talent, so they will make decisions that are best for his long-term career.

Matt Bashore – LHP
– Bashore pitched some at Elizabethton last year, but they shut him down early just as a precaution. The former supplemental first round pick will need to advance beyond the rookie leagues in 2012. Reports out of instructional league were that he has regained most of his velocity and his secondary pitches were looking sharp. He also became a father for the first time this offseason. He is certainly one to watch in 2012.

Miguel Munoz – RHP
– Munoz made his first start with the Ft. Myers Miracle in 2011 and then was shut down with elbow issues. He made a comeback late in the season but was shut down again. He never did have elbow surgery. He just rehabbed and was throwing well in instructs. Hopefully he will be at 100% in 2012. Munoz has a lot of talent.

Brad Stillings – RHP
– Stillings had shoulder surgery and was rehabbing following the season. He should be ready to go full-out at the start of spring training.

David Bromberg – RHP
– 2011 was a year to forget for Bromberg. He went to big league spring training, but four starts into his New Britain season. He was hit in the arm by a line drive, breaking a bone. He missed most of the season. Bromberg works as hard as anyone. He has lost over 40 pounds over the past two years, and he has regained all of his range of motion and velocity. Although he is off the 40 man roster, he could factor into the big league club sometime in 2012.

Tony Davis
– LHP – Davis had shoulder surgery late in the season to relieve the pressure and pain caused by a pinched ulna nerve. The issue was creating pain and tingling in his fingers. He rehabbed in Ft. Myers until November, but when he went home, he was given a full bill of health. The hard-throwing lefty heads to camp hoping to impress again.

Garrett Jewell – RHP
– The 2011 draftee was shut down with some shoulder inflammation late in the short season. He immediately began a rehab program and when he was sent home, he was cleared and should be ready for camp.

Michael Tarsi – LHP
– The tall left-hander had minor shoulder surgery late in the season. He worked very hard through his rehab sessions. Once his program allowed him to throw, he was happy and surprised by how good it felt. Although he doesn’t throw real hard, the lefty had a very solid 2011 season working out of the bullpen for the first time in his career.

Ben Tootle – RHP
– Tootle missed most of the 2010 season with injury that resulted in shoulder surgery. He returned to the mound in 2011 with the Beloit Snappers, but he was clearly still working through getting his arm back. He fought control and late in the season, he was shut down. He continued to work very hard, and will be in much better position physically to pitch in 2012. It would be great to see the hard-throwing righty get his velocity back near triple digits as he showed when the Twins drafted him.

Nathan Fawbush – RHP
– The long, lanky right hander has really good stuff, but he has been hurt most of the time since he signed with the Twins as a 2010 draft pick. Soon after signing that season, he hurt his hand on a comebacker. Last year, he fought bursitis in his right shoulder and a sprained elbow. He rehabbed all offseason and should be ready again for spring training this year.

Levi Michael – SS
– Michael fought all kinds of injuries in 2011. He had a couple of different leg injuries. He didn’t play in games during the Instructional League, but he did participate in the workouts. He should be ready to go this spring. I know a lot of Twins fans are eager to see how the team’s 2011 top pick will perform. Scouts all seem to agree that the Twins got a very good player with the 30th pick.

Estarlin de Los Santos – SS
– De Los Santos fought elbow pain throughout the 2011 season. Before the season ended, he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. He was limited to second base last year, but should be able to get back to shortstop in 2011. He has a very strong arm.

Kelvin Mention – OF
–The very-strong, athletic outfielder missed all of 2011 because of shoulder surgery. He should be at 100% as spring training starts, and it will be fun to see how he does. He played with fellow Twins prospect, JD Williams, in high school and hopes to have a similar breakout season.

Steve Liddle – 1B/OF
– 2011 was a frustrating season offensively for Liddle. Following the season, he had surgery of his non-throwing labrum. The tear has been repaired, and he says that he is 100% heading into spring training. He should be able to show much more with the bat now that he’ll be swinging with two strong shoulders.

Philip Chapman – C
– The Twins 2012 draft pick had knee surgery two weeks ago to repair some torn cartilage. He will likely miss a month of action, but his advanced bat should push him to Beloit when he is ready for the season to begin.

As you can see, most of the players who dealt with injuries in 2011 should be ready to go as spring training starts. We will continue to monitor the progress of Kyle Gibson and Dallas Gallant throughout the season in their recoveries from Tommy John surgery. The Twins lost a lot of players to injury in 2011, and it extended to some very talented minor leaguers as well. Hopefully 2012 will be a much more healthy campaign.

Comments

  1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
    It sounds like Stuif is dealing with a shoulder and foot thing coming into camp too.
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