Rehabbing Twins pitcher Chris Paddack on contract extension: ‘It’s pretty special for me’
In his first season with the Twins, Paddack made five pitching starts, finishing 1-2 with a 4.03 earned-run average.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Chris Paddack got off the phone, a smile stretching across his face. Thoughts fluttered through his mind of everything he had been through since he was drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2015, everything it had taken him to get to this point.
He was traded. Twice. When he tore his ulnar collateral ligament the first time, he wondered if he would ever play again. In 2022, the 26-year-old underwent his second Tommy John surgery, beginning yet another long, grueling rehab process.
And so when Paddack hung up the phone after agreeing to a three-year, $12.5 million extension with the Minnesota Twins last month, there was a weight, he said, lifted off his shoulders. The deal covers his remaining arbitration-eligible years and buys out what would have been his first year of free agency.
In his first season with the Twins in 2022, Paddack made five pitching starts, finishing 1-2 with a 4.03 earned-run average.
“It’s not about the money, but you get to see a flash, everything unfolds right there. Just with one phone call, I finally did it,” Paddack said. “I finally have enough money in the bank to be able to retire with my family and to live a life that most people wish. … Knowing my story about how I was raised coming from nothing to having something, it’s pretty special for me and my family.”
With a new deal in place, Paddack’s focus is squarely on getting himself back on the mound. He just started throwing once again at 45 feet. This week, he’s up to 60 feet.
The timetable from a second Tommy John is longer than a first, which usually lasts around a year. Paddack had his surgery in May, and his aim is to return by the end of this season.
“I’m going to do everything I can to spike up and hopefully be back with the guys towards the end of the year,” he said. “We made that clear at the beginning of this whole thing, like, ‘Hey, don’t tell me I’m not pitching,’ because I want to have some drive. I want to have something to look forward to.”
Duran out of WBC
Jhoan Duran has lofty expectations for his second season: the flame-throwing relief pitcher is hoping to put up numbers similar — or better — to those during from his rookie year, when he posted a 1.86 ERA, 0.975 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) and struck out 89 batters in 67 2/3 innings, converting all eight save opportunities he was given.
In order to do so, he felt it was most prudent to bow out of the World Baseball Classic, where he would have appeared out of the bullpen for a Dominican Republic team that is expected to be tournament favorite.
That decision was made after Duran felt slight pain in his right hamstring about a month and a half ago. The pain subsided quickly, and Duran entered camp feeling healthy after an offseason focused more on his strength.
“I need to be safe if I’m going to be ready for the season,” he said. “This season is a big season for me.”
All pitchers and catchers had reported to camp by Wednesday except for starting pitcher Tyler Mahle, who was en route to Fort Myers. Mahle and his wife, Ashley, welcomed a baby boy, Huck, on Feb. 9. … Special assistant to baseball operations and former Twins star LaTroy Hawkins was also in camp, fresh off a trip to the Super Bowl, where he watched his godson, Patrick Mahomes, lead the Kansas City Chiefs to victory.
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