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
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 41 3rd Qtr
LA Clippers 46
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 0 3rd Prd 17:43
Vancouver 2
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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: Should the Twins contact Joe Maddon about their managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close