By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Joe Nathan will take the next big step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery on Tuesday afternoon at Hammond Stadium.
Nathan is set to take the mound in a game for the first time since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last spring in a game against the Red Sox on March 6 at City of Palms Park. Nathan underwent surgery on March 26 and since then he’s reported no setbacks. But of course this is a big day for the 36-year-old right-hander as he works to regain his closer role with the Twins and prove he’ll be ready for Opening Day.
But Nathan isn’t the only pitcher to watch in this contest. Right-hander Scott Baker, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow this offseason, is making his first start of the spring. Baker had a slight setback last month after pushing his recovery but he’s back on track once again.
Another piece of news from Twins camp is that Jim Kaat will be joining the team’s Spring Training staff.
Kaat, 72, will be in uniform as a special instructor from Sunday through next Friday. The pitcher, who spent 25 years in the big leagues including 13 of those with the Twins, is the Twins’ all-time leader in wins (189), games started (422) and innings pitched (2959 1/3).
Also, a slight tweak in the pitching schedule. Left-hander Francisco Liriano is going to pitch in a ‘B’ game on Friday, so Kevin Slowey will get the start in the ‘A’ game against the Rays at Hammond Stadium that day.
Here are the lineups and note how many interesting pitchers there are to watch for the Twins today:
Red Sox (1-1)
Marco Scutaro, SS
Jed Lowrie, 2B
Mike Cameron, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Ryan Kalish, CF
Darnell McDonald, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Drew Sutton, 1B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester
scheduled to pitch: Alfredo Aceves, Jonathan Papelbon, Tony Pena Jr., Randy Williams, Rich Hill
Denard Span, CF
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
Danny Valencia, 3B
Jim Thome, DH
Joe Benson, RF
Chris Parmelee, 1B
Rene Tosoni, LF
Drew Butera, C
Alexi Casilla, SS
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker
Others scheduled to pitch: Joe Nathan, Jose Mijares, Kyle Gibson, Carlos Gutierrez, Yorman Bazardo, David Bromberg, Kyle Waldrop, Deolis Guerra
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins closer Joe Nathan told reporters Sunday morning that he will undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow as soon as possible.
Nathan played a game of catch this morning with pitching coach Rick Anderson but felt stiffness in his right elbow.
“It didn’t go like we hoped,” Nathan said. “We knew it was a long shot, but what this did do is clear my head. There was definitely no grey area.”
Nathan was diagnosed with what the Twins called a “significant” tear in his ulnar collateral ligament on March 8, two days after he left a spring exhibition game against the Red Sox with stiffness in the elbow. Nathan held out hope that he could rehab the injury but said after the game of catch that it was not possible.
The pitcher’s intention is to have the surgery done within the next week, although he said he
hasn’t decided exactly when that will be or who will perform the surgery. The estimated recovery time is 12 months and Nathan said he’s looking to be ready for Opening Day 2011.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that closer Joe Nathan will test his right elbow soon, but it’s not necessarily going to happen on Saturday as the closer had thought.
Nathan had said Monday that he thought he’d give his elbow a vigorous test on Saturday. But Gardenhire said that’s not a guarantee, as it could happen on that day or on Sunday or Monday. He said they’ll let the doctors and training staff figure out what day it will be.
“He was going two weeks from when he hurt his arm. We’re looking from when the doctors saw him and said give him two weeks,” Gardenhire said. “We’re kind of in between there. We’ll find out sometime over the weekend, maybe Sunday or maybe Monday.
“Somewhere in the near future he’ll throw but it’s not a guaranteed schedule that he’ll throw on Saturday.”
By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
After a couple days off, I’m back on the beat. Nothing happened while I was gone, right?
That was a joke of course. As for an update on that front, I spoke with Joe Nathan who was decked out in his workout gear today and had a busy day scheduled in the gym as well as the training room. For now, Nathan is trying to strengthen the muscles around the elbow and keep himself busy as he waits to gather all the information to decide whether he’ll try to pitch this season or not.
Nathan said he’d like to have a decision by next week and right now they’ll wait for some second opinions from Dr. James Andrews as well as Dr. David Altchek, the former Mets physician.
So for now, they wait.
Nolan Reimold, DH
Robert Andino, 2B
Nick Markakis, RF
Luke Scott, LF
Garrett Atkins, 1B
Josh Bell, 3B
Jeff Salazar, CF
Chad Moeller, C
Pedro Florimon, SS
Pitching: RHP Kevin Millwood
Others scheduled to pitch: Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson, Alberto Castillo
Denard Span, CF
Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker
Others scheduled to pitch: Francisco Liriano, Jon Rauch, Matt Guerrier, Mike Maroth, Brian Duensing, Rob Delaney
A reminder you can follow me on Twitter @kellythesier
By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -Twins closer Joe Nathan is headed to the Twin Cities for an MRI on his surgically repaired right elbow.
Nathan, 35, left Saturday’s game against the Red Sox for precautionary reasons after feeling tightness and soreness in that right elbow.
When he arrived in the Twins clubhouse on Sunday morning, Nathan said his elbow was feeling stiff and sore. After getting his elbow re-evaluated by team doctors, Nathan said the decision was made to have further pictures taken of the elbow.
The team and Nathan want to make sure the tightness in his elbow was not due to anything more than pain from breaking up scar tissue following the surgery he had on Oct. 20 to remove bone spurs and loose bodies from the elbow.
“Everything is looking good as it not being super serious,” Nathan said. “As far as tears or anything, it doesn’t look like it’s anything like that. That’s a positive and I’m going up there with positive thoughts. But we definitely want to be precautionary and make sure that we have all the information we could gather to at least give us peace of mind and know that hopefully nothing is going on.”
Nathan said he’ll take a couple days off from throwing. But he wouldn’t know the exact plan of treatment until they get more information from the MRI, which they’ll compare to a previous one he had prior to surgery.
“I think we always expect speed bumps when you are coming back from surgery,” Nathan said. “It’s nice that if there is a time to have it happen, it happened on my first game and not my last game down here. Now we’re staring at the season starting and me missing time during the season. Just going to hope it’s as minor as it can be and it hopefully it doesn’t go into the regular season.”
By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t pleased with how his pitching staff threw the ball in their third spring game, a 9-3 loss to the Red Sox. But the bigger concern to come out of Saturday’s contest was the health of closer Joe Nathan.
Nathan had to leave the game after recording just one out in the third inning due to tightness and soreness in his surgically repaired right elbow. For a team that doesn’t have a clear choice for the closer spot if Nathan isn’t available, it’s not a comforting sight to see him have to leave a game.
After exiting the contest, Nathan went back to the Twins Spring Training complex across town to have his elbow examined by the team doctors. The club will know more from the results of that, but the belief (and hope) of the team is that this could be normal soreness as Nathan works his way back from the surgery.
So we’ll have to see on Sunday what the news is about Nathan. He’ll likely be shut down for at least a few days. Since it’s Spring Training, the club will be cautious with their four-time All-Star closer.
Here are a few other nuggets from the day:
–Jesse Crain was scheduled to pitch in Saturday’s contest but he was scratched due to a case of the flu. It’s possible he could end up throwing in one of the split squad games on Sunday.
–Loek Van Mil had another MRI on his right shoulder but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he hadn’t heard the results of that yet.
— I had a nice visit with Dmitri Young, who was at the game on Saturday with his 12-year-old son, Owen, to watch Delmon. Dmitri said he is officially done playing and was happy to get to take in a ballgame as a fan as Owen was a batboy for the Twins.
But rather than stay in the stands, Dmtiri tried out a different angle to watch the game. He sat between Star Tribune writer, Joe Christensen, and me up in the press box. It was entertaining to listen to Dmitri’s thoughts on the game although Joe had to kindly inform him early on that there is no cheering in the pressbox. Dmitri was in great spirits and after what was tough year for the entire Young family following the passing of the boys’ mother, Bonnie Young, it was heart warming to see them all enjoying the day together.
By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
Sunday is the report date for Twins pitchers and catchers and it’s often typical for players not to come out to the ballpark on the day before the report date as it’s their final day off before Spring Training really begins. But this year there were actually quite a few players working out at the Lee County Sports Complex on Saturday.
When I arrived at the ballpark around 10:00 a.m. there were a number of pitchers long tossing on the field behind the Minor League complex. Among the new arrivals (or players I had yet to see) were Nick Blackburn and Jesse Crain. Blackburn threw a bullpen session and many fans gathered around to watch him throw.
It was hard to miss Orlando Hudson’s smile as he warmed up on one of the fields. Hudson took part in a hitting session that included Michael Cuddyer, Matt Tolbert, Luke Hughes, Toby Gardenhire, Drew Butera, and Rene Tosoni. Cuddyer and Hudson spent quite a bit of time talking and it looked like Hudson will fit right in with this clubhouse.
I spoke with Joe Nathan for a little awhile inside the Twins clubhouse about how his elbow is feeling and his outlook heading into the start of Spring Training. There will be a story up on twinsbaseball.com later with more on that. One thing we discussed was Nathan’s workout program this winter. He worked with the new baseball strength and conditioning coach at the University of Tennessee, Herman Demmink, and raved about the difference that the new workouts made for him. Demmink, who spent three years in the Phillies farm system, played college baseball at Clemson and actually competed against current Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey.
Nathan talked about how he and the other Major Leaguers who worked out
with him were impressed by Demmink’s personal conditioning and said
that I should check out some video of Demmink’s workouts. So I googled
it and found the video on You Tube. Here is the link, and I’ll admit some of the exercises are pretty impressive.
That’s about it for today. I’ll have more tomorrow when pitchers and catchers officially report to Hammond Stadium.
Reminder that you can follow me on Twitter @kellythesier
Greetings everyone from sunny Fort Myers, Fla. (I can’t say warm because it hasn’t exactly been that way over the past week. I know, I know, no complaining to those who are still in Minnesota).
I was on vacation for the last seven days, although I spent that time down here in Florida –working on my golf game. (It’s training time for everyone, right?) Today was my first day back at the ballpark and so I thought I’d share a few of the sights and sounds at the Lee County Sports Complex two days before the club’s official reporting date for pitchers and catchers.
While I’d heard that players had been slowly trickling in all week, there was quite a bit of activity there today. Among the notable names who were working out at the ballpark today were Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier, Michael Cuddyer, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Brian Duensing and Pat Neshek. A few of them, including Nathan and Guerrier threw bullpen sessions while Neshek threw some live batting practice. In addition to the numerous players on the fields, there were plenty of fans wandering about. I got a chance to catch up with a few of them and always enjoy hearing about their enthusiasm for the upcoming season.
After hanging around the fields, I headed over to the main clubhouse to see who might be dropping off stuff at their lockers. Joe Mauer and J.J. Hardy were there, having just returned from a week up in Minnesota. As I tweeted earlier, Mauer was sporting a new beard that he grew while spending time up at his cabin. Mauer took Hardy to the cabin where they worked out and even did some ice fishing there. Hardy said he can’t believe how famous Mauer’s cabin has become, but did add that it was a pretty impressive place to visit.
Golf was a common topic of conversation in the clubhouse, and not just from me talking about how my swing was feeling this week. Nathan and Carl Pavano were headed out to play 18 holes — one of many rounds of golf that they’ll likely play this spring. While my golf game goes on hiatus pretty much over the course of Spring Training, the players get to enjoy their time on the links (especially during the short workout days early in camp). So I’m sure I’ll get to hear quite a bit about how their golf games are progressing.
One person who was only too happy to share his golf story was manager Ron Gardenhire, who got the opportunity to play Augusta National on Friday. The timing was not ideal as the South was hit by a massive snowstorm on Friday afternoon, and Gardy’s playing group had to golf in the snow for the final three holes. He said he got some pictures of the group on hole No. 18 with the snow falling. Augusta got a total of four inches — something that hadn’t happened in 37 years — so Gardy was proud to at least have pictures of the event. He didn’t shoot too shabby either, telling me he was only one over after the front nine
Tomorrow will be the final day for players to work out before the official reporting day. It’s often a little quieter around the ballpark as guys enjoy their final day off before things really get underway. I’ll be back out at the complex tomorrow to start working on a few stories so I’ll share more at that time.
The Twins announced the recipients of the 2009 Diamond Awards, which are voted upon by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Here are the winners:
- Calvin R. Griffith Most Valuable Twin — Joe Mauer
- Joseph W. Haynes Pitcher of the Year — Joe Nathan
- Charles O. Johnson Most Improved Twin — Michael Cuddyer
- Bill Boni Outstanding Rookie of the Year — Jose Mijares
- Dick Siebert Upper Midwest Player of the Year — Mauer
- Mike Augustin Media Good Guy Award — Denard Span
- Bob Allison Leadership Award — Cuddyer
The Twins also select a few winners of their own, here they are:
- Carl R. Pohlad Award for Community Service — Justin Morneau
- Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service — Rod Carew
- Sherry Robertson Award for Minor League Player of the Year — Ben Revere
- Jim Rantz Award for Minor League Pitcher of the Year — David Bromberg
The awards will be given out at the Fifth Annual Diamond Awards Dinner, which will take place on Jan. 28, 2010, at the Hilton Minneapolis. The event will benefit brain, nerve and muscle disorders research at the University of Minnesota
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.