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Continued: MLB Insider: New season, new team for the venerable Punto

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 13, 2014 - 8:04 AM

Delmon Young, Bal

Central Intelligence

Any plans the Twins had for bringing Miguel Sano to the majors this season evaporated when the third base prospect underwent season-ending elbow surgery. But they are hardly the only AL Central team whose blueprint for 2014 has been altered by a major injury. The casualty list:

Tigers: After finishing as the runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting, Jose Iglesias was supposed to be Detroit’s shortstop for the next 10 years.

But he was diagnosed with stress fractures in both shins in March, likely costing him all of 2014. The Tigers traded for 37-year-old Alex Gonzalez as a stopgap. Closer-in-waiting Bruce Rondon is also gone for the season after elbow surgery.

White Sox: Outfielder Avisail Garcia, acquired in the same trade that sent Iglesias to Detroit, dived for a fly ball in Colorado on Wednesday and tore the labrum in his left shoulder. Surgery will cost him the rest of the season.

Royals: After years of floundering as a starter, Luke Hochevar was brilliant out of the bullpen last year, posting a 1.92 ERA.

But the former first-round pick underwent Tommy John surgery in March.

Indians: Center fielder Michael Bourn played with a sore left hamstring late last season, tore it during the regular season’s final game, and underwent surgery to repair it. He hoped that was the end of it, but then he strained it during spring training and hasn’t yet returned.

He’s due back within a week, but Cleveland has to be anxious about the potential of reinjury, since speed is a major part of his game.

MLB short takes

• Only four former Montreal Expos remain in the big leagues nine years after the team moved to Washington, and the Twins will have faced three of them before their first homestand is over. Lefthander Scott Downs (2000-04 Expos) faced one batter April 2, when the Twins played the White Sox; Kansas City’s Bruce Chen (2002) lost at Target Field on Friday; and Maicer Izturis (2004) comes to town with Toronto on Tuesday. Barring a trade, the Twins are unlikely to see the fourth surviving Expo this year, the Mets’ Bartolo Colon.

• The list of ex-Twins in the major leagues figures to grow as the season goes on. Johan Santana and Luis Ayala, both under contract to the Orioles, are working their way back from injury and hope to be in Baltimore around midseason. There are also a few free agents who were cut as spring training ended. Jose Mijares opted out of his contract with the Red Sox in order to find a major league job. Jamey Carroll (Nationals) and Jon Rauch (Royals) lasted until the final few days of training camp before being let go.

• Cleveland’s Danny Salazar beat the Twins on April 4, but his next start was bizarrely successful — and terrible. Against the White Sox on Thursday, Salazar faced 18 Chicago hitters, allowing three singles, a double and two home runs, while also walking two. The other 10 batters? Every one of them struck out. Cleveland didn’t record an out on a ball put into play against Salazar.

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