Twins prospect Wimmers may need Tommy John surgery

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN and LA VELLE E. NEAL IIII , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: July 31, 2012 - 10:57 PM

The 2010 first-round draft pick might have to undergo elbow ligament replacement surgery.

For the second year in a row, the Twins face the prospect of having a former top draft pick undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.

Last September, 2009 first-round pick Kyle Gibson had the procedure. And now, 2010 first-round pick Alex Wimmers is heading to Minnesota to meet with team doctors after having another setback with his right elbow.

"He threw last week, and I thought we were on our way," General Manager Terry Ryan said Tuesday. "He just didn't feel right."

Wimmers, 23, overcame major control issues last year and tossed a no-hitter for Class A Fort Myers. The Twins moved him to Class AA New Britain this year, but he strained the elbow in his first start.

Now, the word within the organization is that he will need Tommy John surgery, though Ryan doesn't want to assume anything.

"He wouldn't be coming up here [for the medical exam] if it was any good," Ryan said. "It's something we think is serious enough for our people to see him here local, again."

Other Twins pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery at some point include Scott Baker, Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing and Jeff Manship. Former Twins pitchers Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan had it, too.

Gibson, 24, is rehabbing now. On Tuesday, he tossed three shutout innings in the Gulf Coast League, giving up no hits with one walk -- and seven strikeouts.

Ryan said Gibson's next assignment could come for Class A Fort Myers "because he dominated."

Butera's next assignment

Drew Butera was Pavano's personal catcher before getting assigned to Liriano, which seemed to help Liriano get on a roll. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he intends to use Butera to spell Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit again soon, probably sometime on the next road trip.

"We'll put [Butera] out there when I think he can help the pitcher," Gardenhire said.

All-Star update

Commissioner Bud Selig, in Minneapolis on Tuesday, said Major League Baseball is not quite ready to announce that the Twins will play host to the 2014 All-Star Game, despite strong indications that it will happen.

"I'm still thinking about a lot of things and we'll announce that in the near future," he said.

When asked if it could be announced within the next month or so, he said, "it could be."

Earlier this season, MLB officially announced the Mets as playing host to the 2013 game.

Selig was in town to speak at a luncheon to kick off the 2012 RBI (Revitalizing Baseball in Inner Cities) World Series, which will be played at Target Field from Thursday through Sunday. A field of 16 teams, including one from the Dominican Republic and one from Venezuela, will compete. Twins great Tony Oliva and Hall of Famers Paul Molitor, Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven joined Selig.

Etc.

•With the Twins facing Liriano, Gardenhire put Darin Mastroianni in right field instead of Ben Revere. Mastroianni is a righthanded hitter, and Gardenhire said he was hoping to get the lefthanded-hitting Revere a day off anyway.

Trevor Plouffe saw a hand specialist Tuesday and confirmed that he is dealing with a bone bruise in his right thumb. He is eligible to return from the disabled list on Aug. 5.

•Pavano (right rotator cuff weakness) was hoping to begin a minor league rehab stint Thursday, but that step has been pushed back. The plan is to have him pitch batting practice again Friday.

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