Day 7: Zumaya’s injury dampens day
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was supposed to be just another day of full workouts at the Lee County Sports Complex, but it all changed after just 13 pitches from right-hander Joel Zumaya.
Zumaya, throwing live batting practice for the first time this spring, felt discomfort in his right elbow and cut his throwing session short.
He’s scheduled to have an MRI tomorrow morning, and we should get the results by tomorrow night or Monday morning, according to Twins general manager Terry Ryan.
The Twins are hopeful he just broke up some scar tissue — similar to what Joe Nathan experienced last year before he came back even stronger after a stint on the DL — but considering his injury history, there’s a reason to be concerned. Worst-case, Zumaya will need Tommy John surgery, which he’s never had done despite his lengthy list of injuries.
Speaking of Tommy John surgery, Twins GM Terry Ryan shared some positive news about prospect Kyle Gibson, who had the surgery done on Sept. 7. Ryan said he expects Gibson to be back in action this summer, which means he’s recovering at a good rate considering most pitchers need about 12 months to come back after the surgery.
“He’ll pitch this summer,” Ryan said. “I think we anticipate him pitching this summer. In fact, I don’t think, I know. It’s not anything different than the schedule.”
Other notes from today:
– The Twins are trying to get Ben Revere to bunt more this year, as he squared up to bunt just 15 times last year in 481 plate appearances, recording four hits and three sacrifices. He’s been working with Jerry White and Rod Carew to improve his technique.
– Former shortstop Trevor Plouffe is working out with the outfielders, as he prepares to become the club’s fourth outfielder. He’ll also get some work in the infield soon, but the Twins are more worried about getting him comfortable as a corner outfielder.
– Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he’s impressed by Danny Valencia so far in camp, as he worked hard to improve his fielding. “He’s way better,” Gardenhire said. “He’s bent over, he’s going to the ball low. As he told me, that was an adjustment. That was a big adjustment for him, because he’s so used to standing up and going after a ball and having to go all the way back down to the ground.”
– Ryan praised both catcher J.R. Towles and infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce, as they were both former top prospects with the Astros and Pirates, respectively, before signing Minor League deals with the Twins this offseason. Towles will get a fair shake to battle Butera for the third catcher spot, while Pearce will get a shot as a utility player who could see time at first base, outfield and third base.
– Alexi Casilla is bothered by a sore calf, but has been participating in the workouts with no problems. Luke Hughes, who has a strained right shoulder, still can’t throw yet, but has been fielding grounders all over the infield.
Here’s video of Zumaya throwing to Justin Morneau shortly before his injury.
And here’s photos from today’s workouts, including of Zumaya before his injury: