Reusse: Diamond's elbow rehab is a big deal for Twins rotation

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 6, 2013 - 6:54 AM
hide

Add up the numbers up from last year’s dismal season and lefthanded starter Scott Diamond’s return to good health after elbow surgery could mean a good deal to the Twins this year.

Photo: KYNDELL HARKNESS • kharkness@startribune.com ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Scott Diamond made 27 starts in 2012, and that led the Twins by 10. Diamond pitched 173 innings and led the Twins by 64. Diamond had a 3.54 ERA, and that was 2.32 runs lower than the cumulative total (5.86) for the pitchers making the other 135 starts.

These numbers tell you the reason that Diamond collected two plaques at the Diamond Awards in January: Twins Pitcher of the Year and Outstanding Rookie. They also dramatize the starting mess that doomed the 2012 Twins to 14th position in the American League for a second consecutive season.

There were 12 pitchers who made starts for the Twins in 2012. Three are gone: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano and Jason Marquis. Three are non-rostered invitees: Nick Blackburn, P.J. Walters and Esmerling Vasquez. Blackburn is also hurt, as is Anthony Swarzak with an injury suffered “horsing around” in a TwinsFest after-party.

Lefthander Brian Duensing (11 starts in 55 appearances) is destined to pitch from the bullpen.

Where does that leave the Twins for survivors of the 2012 conglomerate who are on the big-league roster? Diamond, Liam Hendriks, Cole De Vries and Samuel Deduno.

Put that group with acquisitions Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia, and top prospect Kyle Gibson, back from elbow surgery, and that’s eight with only Diamond as a lefty.

Add it up and you understand what a big deal it is to have Diamond back sooner than later from elbow clean-up surgery that took place in mid-December.

Diamond will have his third bullpen session on Wednesday. The hope is that he’ll be on the mound — for an exhibition, a “B” game or a minor league game — by mid-March.

“I was lifting more [weights] this winter, trying to get a little stronger,” Diamond said. “I had been throwing for a couple of weeks and would lift after that. It was a fluke accident lifting that caused some pain in the elbow.”

Say elbow pain and today’s baseball media and fans shriek, “Torn ligament, Tommy John surgery … aaargh!”

Diamond said: “I knew it wasn’t serious. They found some particles in there and a bone spur that was developing. Dr. [David] Altcheck did the surgery and it was routine.

“I threw off the mound six times, I’m going through the bullpens and everything’s fine. It’s just a question of building up to pitch in a game.”

Rick Anderson confirmed this assessment. “He’s progressing,” the pitching coach said. “He’s getting excited to ramp it up, but we’re following the trainers’ plan.”

Ten days to a game? “I’d think so,” Anderson said.

Diamond was an underdog story from the start. He comes from Guelph, Ontario. The best Division I offer he could get in the States was from SUNY-Binghamton.

He was a top starter at Binghamton, which didn’t get him a mention in the massive MLB draft in 2007. He signed in late August as a free agent with Atlanta — another move that had him a long shot.

“The Braves love power pitchers, no question,” Diamond said. “At the same time, I’m very grateful to the Braves. They gave me a chance. I learned a lot in that organization.”

Diamond reached Class AAA Gwinnett in the summer of 2010, his third professional season. The Twins took him in the Rule 5 draft. That’s the December exercise where teams can select a non-roster player for $50,000 and have to keep him all season or risk returning him for $25,000.

When it becomes apparent a Rule 5er won’t make the club, you hear this annually from clubs not wanting to say the draftee was a bust: “Maybe we’ll try to make a deal to keep him.”

In the case of Diamond, the Twins actually did so — trading hard-throwing reliever Billy Bullock to the Braves after Diamond cleared waivers.

The Twins’ desire to keep Diamond was driven as much by a dearth of left-handed starters in the organization as by any certainty he could make it in the big leagues as a prototypical crafty lefty.

Diamond was the only reliable arm in the Twins’ 12-starter mess of 2012 — and the fact it’s a left arm makes it even more important to have him big-league ready in early April.

“He’s the only lefty in the starting picture, correct?” someone said to Anderson.

The pitching coach’s confirmation was a roll of his eyes.

 

Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. • preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 115 FINAL
Orlando 100
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 103
Denver 69 FINAL
Memphis 99
Chicago 118 FINAL
LA Lakers 123
Montreal 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 0
Winnipeg 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Boston 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 3 FINAL
Toronto 1
Dallas 6 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Detroit 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 5
Columbus 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Nashville 4 FINAL(SO)
St. Louis 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Calgary 0
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL
San Jose 6
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 71 FINAL
Rutgers 51
Boston Univ 67 FINAL
Army 71
Fla Atlantic 61 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Youngstown St 87 FINAL
Detroit 93
East Tenn St 55 FINAL
Furman 59
Saint Louis 60 FINAL
George Mason 68
USC Upstate 78 FINAL
Jacksonville 65
High Point 72 FINAL
Liberty 53
Central Conn St 55 FINAL
Long Island 67
Western Ky 56 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 69
Dayton 64 FINAL
Massachusetts 66
Chattanooga 72 FINAL
Mercer 75
Wofford 58 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 42
Maryland 56 FINAL
Ohio State 80
FIU 56 FINAL
Old Dominion 71
Fair-Dickinson 65 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Mount St Marys 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 73
Bryant 68 FINAL
St Francis-PA 75
Northern Ky 75 FINAL
Stetson 85
Coll of Charleston 70 FINAL
Towson 74
Western Carolina 85 FINAL
Va Military 70
Sacred Heart 64 FINAL
Wagner 75
Lipscomb 62 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 78
Kennesaw St 67 FINAL
North Florida 86
Appalachian St 46 FINAL
Ga Southern 83
Holy Cross 54 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 64
Eastern Ill 51 FINAL
UT Martin 81
Jacksonville St 82 FINAL
Belmont 103
Connecticut 58 FINAL
Cincinnati 70
Rider 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 49
SIU Edwardsville 75 FINAL
SE Missouri St 61
Marshall 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 54
Tenn Tech 56 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Middle Tennessee 58 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
Ill-Chicago 65 FINAL
Milwaukee 71
Weber State 67 FINAL
North Dakota 60
Denver 54 FINAL
North Dakota St 61
IUPU-Ft Wayne 66 FINAL
South Dakota 55
Louisiana 85 FINAL
South Alabama 89
Ark-Little Rock 75 FINAL
Arkansas State 65
Georgia State 88 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 74
ULM 58 FINAL
Troy 55
Portland 46 FINAL
Gonzaga 64
Kentucky 69 FINAL
Missouri 53
Eastern Ky 78 FINAL
Murray State 85
UAB 69 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 71
Idaho State 76 FINAL
Northern Colorado 79
UMKC 57 FINAL
Grand Canyon 78
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Utah Valley U 78
Colorado 98 FINAL
USC 94
Cal Poly 57 FINAL
UC Irvine 67
Hawaii 84 FINAL
CS-Northridge 73
Pepperdine 50 FINAL
Pacific 43
Santa Clara 64 FINAL
San Diego 69
Utah 59 FINAL
UCLA 69
UC Santa Barbara 64 FINAL
UC Davis 70
Montana 73 FINAL
Portland State 54
Montana State 59 FINAL
Sacramento St 75
Long Beach State 91 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 85
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
St Marys-CA 68
San Francisco 74 FINAL
BYU 78
California 76 FINAL
Washington St 67
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 65
Old Dominion 80 FINAL
FIU 67
Southern Miss 65 FINAL
Marshall 67
Georgia State 45 FINAL
TX-Arlington 57
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
ULM 51 FINAL
Troy 90
Pittsburgh 45 FINAL
(17) Duke 62
(6) Tennessee 73 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 72
(24) Oklahoma 81 FINAL
(14) Texas 84
Nebraska Omaha 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 70
UC-Riverside 68 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56
Army 65 FINAL
Boston U 40
New Orleans 40 FINAL
Nicholls 56
Charlotte 68 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 71
Towson 54 FINAL
Delaware 72
Hofstra 66 FINAL
Northeastern 45
New Hampshire 56 FINAL
Maine 87
Albany 89 FINAL
Vermont 48
Hartford 60 FINAL
Stony Brook 58
UNC-Wilmington 62 FINAL
William & Mary 67
Clemson 62 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Alabama 54 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 85
(23) Syracuse 58 FINAL
(8) Louisville 78
Missouri 68 FINAL
Florida 52
Iona 66 FINAL
Fairfield 77
Manhattan 38 FINAL
Marist 77
NC State 63 FINAL
Virginia 71
(4) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 50
(22) Rutgers 58 FINAL
Purdue 49
(5) Maryland 91 FINAL
Michigan 65
Milwaukee 58 FINAL
Cleveland State 67
Wright State 108 FINAL
Oakland 89
Jacksonville 64 FINAL
USC Upstate 66
North Florida 40 FINAL
Kennesaw St 46
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Ky 68
Loyola-Maryland 57 FINAL
Holy Cross 51
Lamar 87 FINAL
Sam Houston St 68
Fla Gulf Coast 71 FINAL
Lipscomb 49
Vanderbilt 44 FINAL
(18) Miss State 69
IUPUI 62 FINAL
Western Ill 73
Abilene Christian 53 FINAL
Houston Baptist 50
Incarnate Word 54 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 63
McNeese State 78 FINAL
SE Louisiana 57
Oral Roberts 46 FINAL
South Dakota St 71
Louisiana Tech 66 FINAL
Western Ky 82
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 73
Texas-El Paso 52 FINAL
UAB 67
Auburn 47 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Grand Canyon 65 FINAL
UMKC 59
Illinois 57 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 59
(20) Iowa 102 FINAL
Northwestern 99
Utah Valley U 55 FINAL
Chicago State 60
Green Bay 67 FINAL
Valparaiso 52
Ole Miss 41 FINAL
LSU 70
Portland State 31 FINAL
Montana 72
Sacramento St 64 FINAL
Montana State 91
North Dakota 55 FINAL
Weber State 48
Ohio State 85 FINAL
Wisconsin 73
Northern Colorado 61 FINAL
Idaho State 70
BYU 68 FINAL
San Francisco 63
St Marys-CA 56 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 49
Pacific 63 FINAL
Pepperdine 59
Cal-Irvine 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 58
San Diego 64 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
UC Davis 64 FINAL
Cal Poly 72
Long Beach St 64 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close