What those changes are isn't specified, but they can't be good. He wouldn't have gotten the MRI Tuesday had his back been flexible and pain free.
So: He's hurting, and the MRI indicates that the back structure is different than it was after the surgery.
I'm not surprised. As a man who has had a herniated disk, I have kept an eye on Crede, and I believed much of the season that his flexibility was limited. It was most noticeable on ground balls to his backhand side — he was frequently a tick late, and displaying body language that suggested he knew he should have reached the ball. That's the move, defensively, that puts the most twist on the back.
At risk of jumping to conclusions, I assume he's done for the season, maybe even done for his career.
The Twins, as I wrote in the Monday print column soon after Crede signed, have options. The Brian Buscher-Brendan Harris platoon the Twins used at third in the second half of 2008 figured last winter to be just as productive offensively as Crede — and, given how poorly Crede hit, might have been better at the dish.
As Plan Bs go, Buscher and Brendan isn't Bad.
But there's a Plan C that might tempt the Twins. Danny Valencia is supposed to inherit the third base job next spring. They might chose to hasten that timeline.
But I think Harris/Buscher makes more sense. Alexi Casilla appears to have secured the second base job (at least until his next brain cramp); combined with the presence of Orlando Cabrera at short, that makes Nick Punto the utility man, and makes it easy to use Harris and Buscher and, yes, Punto to cover third. Harris against left-handed starters, Buscher agaisnt right-handed starters, Punto for defense.