The bad news is, this isn't Chris Paddack's first run-in with an elbow injury.
The good news is, this isn't Chris Paddack's first run-in with an elbow injury.
The Twins starter went on the injured list Tuesday with right elbow inflammation after leaving Sunday's victory in the third inning. He will have additional imaging done in the coming days to determine the official diagnosis but the 26-year-old is preparing himself for the worst-case scenario, something he's experienced firsthand already.
Paddack had Tommy John surgery as a minor league player in 2016, which is what is making it tough to see the exact damage in his elbow now. His 2021 season ended in September because of a UCL sprain, for which he had a stem cell injection. After that six-to-eight week recovery, he had a mostly normal offseason.
The Texas native, who came to the Twins in a trade just before Opening Day, said this injury feels similar to what happened in 2021, and it's something he has been managing since last season. But it hadn't caused any problems until his start in Baltimore on May 2.
"Unfortunately at this point in my career, if it is torn or anything crazy like that, I think I'm just going to move forward with surgery," Paddack said. "Just because, I would already miss the majority of this season if I did get a stem cell. … That puts us at end of July before I'm even back on the mound. Let's say it does tear after that, now I'm looking at not coming back until 2024. And I just don't want to risk that. That's free-agent year."
Paddack said because he's dealt with injuries like this before, he knows all the work he has to put in to stay healthy, which makes this all the more frustrating.
But with medical advancements making the surgery no longer a career death sentence, Paddack is also optimistic about coming back stronger, should he be in for his second Tommy John procedure and its yearlong recovery.
"I definitely have the advantage of knowing that I've been through it once, and I can do it again," Paddack said. "… There's some dark sides that you fight through mentally. ... But no one's going to feel sorry for you. So there's no point in feeling sorry for yourself."
Correa to IL
Shortstop Carlos Correa also couldn't skirt a stint on the 10-day IL with his bruised right middle finger. The star took a couple of pitches off his hand in Baltimore on Thursday and initially feared a break. Although he avoided that, the comeback hasn't been as quick as hoped.
Correa came in on the off day Monday to hit and throw, but the pain was too much.
"Really bummed, man. I was really trying," Correa said. "I tried to push it as much as I could, but it just didn't work for me. Still a pretty good bone bruise. I'll go in the IL and be ready for the next road trip, hopefully."
Correa's IL time is retroactive to May 6, so he hopes he'll need only three or four more days to rehab.
With the moves of Paddack and Correa, the Twins selected the contracts of outfielder Mark Contreras and reliever Jharel Cotton. Contreras has appeared in 26 games for the St. Paul Saints this season and is hitting .239. Cotton started the season with the major league team but made only two appearances before the Twins sent him outright to St. Paul. In four appearances with the Class AAA side, he has a 2.08 ERA through 4 1/3 innings.
The Twins will have more maneuvers in the coming days. Luis Arraez and Dylan Bundy have cleared COVID-19 protocols and took part in pregame workouts Tuesday. Their returns will need corresponding 40-man moves, which could be releasing Cotton again or placing Paddack on the 60-day list.
Manager Rocco Baldelli is back from Baltimore and feeling good but has not cleared COVID protocols. The earliest he could return would be Thursday, should he test negative Tuesday and Wednesday.
Acting manager Jayce Tingler said he wouldn't anticipate Bundy missing more than one start even with the disruption to his routine. Sonny Gray returned earlier than expected from his hamstring injury to pitch Saturday, but the Twins are currently down Bundy, Paddack and Bailey Ober for starters.
Ober has been dealing with a right groin injury since April 28 and said Tuesday he is still not ready to face hitters and will likely need a rehab start. So Joe Ryan, Chris Archer, Josh Winder and Gray will have to hold down the rotation for now.
"If we're planning on worst-case scenarios, barring another injury to some type of setback, we feel comfortable with where we're at," Tingler said. "… I feel like we're going to be set for our next time through."