Twins closer Joe Nathan and first baseman Justin Morneau each underwent “clean-up” surgeries on Tuesday to have bone chips removed, general manager Bill Smith confirmed in an email on Thursday.
Nathan saw Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. on Monday after team doctors recommended a minor clean-up to his right elbow. Andrews confirmed the recommendation and on Tuesday morning, Andrews performed the surgery to remove two bone chips from Nathan’s right elbow. Nathan is now back home in Knoxville, Tenn. and is expected to make a full recovery before Spring Training, Smith said.
Morneau had been bothered by a bone chip in his right wrist during the season. On Tuesday, Twins hand specialist Dr. Tom Verecka removed the chip and Morneau is also expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.
Closer Joe Nathan was one of the Twins who was outspoken last month, expressing his desire for the club’s front office to make a move prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Nathan and the rest of the team saw that happen when the Twins completed a trade with the A’s for shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
But that wasn’t it for the Twins. Instead there has been a flurry of moves recently by Twins GM Bill Smith, at a time when the team is pushing to get back in the AL Central race.
In addition to acquiring pitcher Carl Pavano earlier this month, the Twins bolstered their bullpen on Friday by adding two veteran relievers — right-hander Jon Rauch and left-hander Ron Mahay.
The club officially announced that it had acquired Rauch from the D-backs in exchange for a player to be named later. A Major League source confirmed that the Twins will announce on Saturday that they had signed Mahay, who was released by the Royals earlier this week.
For Nathan, it’s a sign that the front office is doing the same thing as the players — trying to do all it can to help the Twins’ postseason chances.
“I think the one thing that we always talked about was that we want everybody to fight and be on the same page and want this team to do well like we all do,” Nathan said after the Twins’ 3-2 win over Texas that moved them solely into second place, 4 1/2 games back of Detroit. “We come here every day and battle our butt off and work as hard as we can to get to that postseason. Obviously when you make it there, anything can happen.
“Seeing Bill make these moves and bring in some guys that he thinks can help us out is nice to see. We’ve got a couple guys coming here that have put up some good numbers. Hopefully they’ll come in and become a good fit in our clubhouse…We hope these two guys come here and are excited about the opportunity to play on a team that’s going to be playing for something in September.”
The Twins announced Wednesday afternoon that pitcher Bobby Korecky had been assigned to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a waiver claim.
The move signifies that the Twins officially signed right-hander Luis Ayala to his one-year, $1.3 million contract. Ayala has been in camp since Sunday but his deal had not yet been finalized. To make room for Ayala on the 40-man roster, the Twins put Korecky on waivers and he was claimed by Arizona. Korecky was 2-0 with a 4.58 ERA in 16 appearances for the Twins last season.
I’ll have more details on the move after we meet with general manager Bill Smith later this afternoon.
UPDATE: The Twins still haven’t officially signed Ayala. The club is just waiting on the official contract to come through from MLB so that it can be signed. That should happen very soon. The signing is close enough that Smith did talk about the pitcher and that will be in the story I’ll file a little later.