The twins havehad some internal discussions” around Jorg Polanco‘s status for opening day, Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said, because Polanco has yet to appear in a spring training game. Pain in his left knee ended Polanco’s 2022 season early, so the Twins decided to slowly bring the second baseman up this spring so he could fully strengthen his knee before stepping onto the field.
However, this process took a little longer than Polanco or the twins would have liked. “We had [Polanco’s knee] watched it a few times this spring to make sure we’re in a good place with himsaid Falvey Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other reporters. “He was slowed down a little, just a little. But we wanted to be absolutely sure that nothing was wrong….There was no setback.”
That being said, Falvey added that Polanco simply “days expire‘ to put the necessary number of games on the table before Minnesota opens its season on March 30. While Polanco has participated in some live batting practice and has only brought some with him”normal pain” in his knee, the veteran certainly needs some in-game reps to fully prepare for his 10th MLB season.
Polanco had never been put on the major league injury list before last June, when he missed just over 10 days with a back problem. The more pressing concern arose later in the season when Polanco’s left knee began to bother him and Aug. 27 ended the infielder’s final game of the 2022 season.
As Falvey noted, Polanco’s knee appears to be structurally sound with no more serious injuries to worry about. But the lingering pain is certainly a nuisance for Polanco after a full off-season break and rehab, and his troublesome knee could now cost him more regular-season time.
While Polanco was a stranger to the IL, he does have an injury history, having undergone relatively minor ankle surgeries after both the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Polanco played in pain for most of the 2020 season, and his desire to stay on the field cost him production-wise as he only managed .258/.304/.354 over 226 plate appearances in the shortened season. In the last two years, Polanco has looked a lot better on the plate (.256/.332/.465 in 1089 PA), and he’s certainly hoping to get his knee problem behind him rather than risk struggling through another year of injury.
If Polanco needs to miss time, the Twins have a good amount of second base depth to cover the position for at least a short-term absence. Nick Gordon and new acquisitions Kyle Farmer And Donovan Solano can all play in multiple positions, giving Minnesota some versatile options coming off the bench.