The Twins have “been having some internal discussions” about Jorge Polanco’s status for Opening Day, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said, since Polanco has yet to play in any Spring Training games. Left knee soreness brought a premature end to Polanco’s 2022 season, so the Twins opted to bring the second baseman along slowly this spring, allowing him to get back to full strength in his knee before taking to the field.
However, this process has taken a little longer than either Polanco or the Twins would’ve liked. “We’ve had [Polanco’s knee] looked at, to make sure we’re in a good place with him, a couple of times this spring,” Falvey told the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Phil Miller and other reporters. “He’s been slowed a little bit, just a little. But we wanted to make absolutely certain there is nothing wrong….There has been no setback.”
That being said, Falvey added that Polanco is simply “running out of days” to get a necessary amount of games under his belt before Minnesota opens its season on March 30. While Polanco has taken part in some live batting-practice sessions and come away with just some “normal soreness” in his knee, the veteran surely requires some in-game reps to get himself fully prepared for his 10th MLB season.
Polanco had never been placed on the Major League injured list prior to last June, when he missed just over the minimum 10 days due to a bad back. The more pressing concern arose later in the season when Polanco’s left knee began to bother him, and August 27 ended up the infielder’s final game of the 2022 campaign.
As Falvey noted, there doesn’t appear to be anything structurally wrong with Polanco’s knee, so there isn’t any fear of a more serious injury. But, the lingering soreness is surely an annoyance to Polanco after a full offseason of rest and rehab, and his bothersome knee could now cost him more regular-season time.
While Polanco had been a stranger to the IL, he does have an injury history, as he underwent relatively minor ankle surgeries following both the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Polanco played through pain for most of the 2020 season, and his desire to stay on the field cost him production-wise, as he hit only .258/.304/.354 over 226 plate appearance during the shortened season. In the last two years, Polanco has looked far better (.256/.332/.465 in 1089 PA) at the plate, and surely he is hoping to get his knee issue behind him rather than risk struggling through another injury-hampered year.
If Polanco does have to miss time, the Twins do 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 multiple positions, giving Minnesota some versatile options coming off the bench.