Twins second baseman Jorge Polanco might not be ready for Opening Day
Alex Kirilloff and Byron Buxton also are questionable for the March 30 season opener at Kansas City
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jorge Polanco is running out of time to make Opening Day a reality.
The Minnesota Twins’ second baseman has not played in a game this spring as he recovers from a bone bruise suffered late last season, and it’s possible he begins the season on the injured list, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey acknowledged on Sunday.
“Obviously, the calendar plays a role now as we get closer and closer to Opening Day,” Falvey said. “ … Our hope is that he’s only a little bit behind relative to where we thought but we had a pretty tight timeline to Opening Day as is.”
The Twins have had to pull back with Polanco a bit this spring as he dealt with soreness in his left knee, and Falvey said that while recent reports on Polanco from head trainer Nick Paparesta have been that he is tracking well, the Twins will have a better sense for his timetable within the next few days.
Falvey said the Twins re-evaluated Polanco this spring and do not have any reason to believe anything has changed, or that he is dealing with a new issue in his knee. The second baseman originally hurt his knee on a slide last August.
A little more than a week ago, Falvey said both Polanco and Byron Buxton were tracking to be ready for Opening Day on March 30 at Kansas City. But though Polanco was doing “really well for a period of time” this spring, Falvey said, soreness has forced the Twins to slow his rehab.
If Polanco is not ready for Opening Day, the Twins have infielders who can hold down the position until his return, including Nick Gordon, Kyle Farmer and Donovan Solano.
Polanco is not the only one whose Opening Day status is in question. Alex Kirilloff, who played four innings at first base in a minor league game on Saturday, and Falvey each said the Twins are hoping to get a better sense of where he stands this week. Kirilloff had wrist surgery last season — his second — and the Twins have not made a decision yet on his readiness.
Buxton, who had season-ending knee surgery last September, is the furthest along of the three. He has now played in multiple minor league games and the Twins expect to get him in a game in center field this spring. So far, he has only appeared at designated hitter, and Falvey has said that “DH opportunities are going to be part of his year,” especially at the start of the season.
“It’s not going to be the perfect spring for any of those three guys,” Falvey said. “The question is how many games, at-bats, reps do we feel we need before we just press go on Opening Day? And in some cases, it feels a little clearer to us, Byron, than it does in the other cases, Jorge. And then Alex fits in between.”
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