Saturday, May 18, 2013

Injuries, rehab and releases

Rafael Perez pitched
four innings for
Triple A Rochester
before being released.
The Rafael Perez era ended Friday when the Twins released the veteran left-hander.

He had shoulder surgery in 2012, and Cleveland let him go during the offseason. The Twins took a flier on him as spring training camps opened on the strength of a bullpen session, but once he was actually in camp their assessment of his current ability clearly diminished. He never threw a pitch in a spring training game and hadn't even joined a minor league team until this month.

It's hardly worth criticizing the Twins for this episode; it was a minor league deal, a small investment that didn't pan out. This is unlike the Tsuyoshi Nishioka signing, which gave reason to wonder if there's a disconnect between the scouts and the major league staff.

Still, it was a curious sequence of events. When the Twins signed Perez, they talked about stretching him out as a rotation candidate. As it turned out, he couldn't stretch out sufficiently to claim the lefty specialist role he was accustomed to with the Indians. The scouts saw something the coaching staff didn't see. Or maybe they were just throwing something against the wall to see if it stuck.

Perez wound up pitching four innings in Triple A — four innings in which he walked three men, struck out two and allowed one run, on a homer.

He had an out clause in his deal — if not on the major league roster by May 1 he could elect free agency — and he waived that clause at the start of the month, but perhaps he and/or his agent think there's an opportunity elsewhere.


A more significant investment gone sour — Alex Wimmers, the Twins' first-round draft pick in 2010 —took a step forward Friday with his first mound work since his ligament replacement surgery last summer.

Wimmers threw all of five innings last season, and it remains to be seen if he sees any action in the minors in 2013.

He was seen at draft time in 2010 as a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect; one of the attractions with him was the sense that he was nearly major-league ready. But nothing as worked out for him so far, and the floor has proven to be far lower than anticipated.

Wimmers has thrown 62 minor league innings since signing. The Twins have enough invested in him to keep trying, but he's not the pitcher they drafted out of Ohio State, and he may never be that pitcher again.

Tim Wood threw
eight innings for
Rochester before
being shut down.

Bullpen candidate Tim Wood, who is on the 40-man roster, was shut down a few days before his rehab assignment was to expire early this week. An MRI on his balky shoulder was reportedly clean, but there's still clearly an issue of some sort and he's seeking a second opinion.

Not long ago I was wondering how, or if, the Twins would find room for him in the major league bullpen. He didn't make it that far.

Another example of the truth behind the claim that you never have enough pitchers.

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