The Twins signed longtime Tigers pitcher Blaine Hardy last winter in hopes he could help retire lefthanders out of the bullpen. If it happens, it won’t be in 2020.
Hardy, who owns a 3.73 ERA in 233 career games over six seasons in Detroit, underwent Tommy John surgery to replace a ligament in his pitching elbow last week, and will need at least a year of rehabilitation to recover. The surgery, performed by Twins team physician Dr. Christopher Camp last Friday, also repaired damage in Hardy’s flexor pronator, the group of muscles just above the elbow in his forearm.
The elective surgery was still permitted in Minnesota when performed, Hardy's wife said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, with a moratorium on roster transactions about to go into effect around Major League Baseball, the Twins pared down their spring training roster this week, assigning Hardy and 14 other nonroster players, including their most prominent prospects, to minor league camps.
Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff, each of whom made positive impressions this spring, were moved off the Twins’ camp roster and will start the season in Class AA or AAA. Larnach led the Twins with six RBIs in Grapefruit League play and tied Nelson Cruz for the team lead in home runs with three, while Kirilloff batted .429 (9 for 21) with four extra-base hits.
Another 11 players who have yet to make their major-league debuts were assigned to the minors as well: catchers Ryan Jeffers, Ben Rortvedt, catcher/first baseman Caleb Hamilton, infielder Drew Maggi, outfielders Zander Wiel and Brent Rooker, righthanded pitchers Edwar Colina, Griffin Jax and Jake Reed, and lefthanders Charlie Barnes and Sam Clay.
All those moves, plus the optioning of 40-man roster players Sean Poppen, a righthanded pitcher, and outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr., were completed on Thursday, cutting the remaining roster to 40 players. A moratorium on roster transactions went into effect on Friday, following the approval by MLB and the players association on an agreement over how to handle this coronavirus-disrupted season.