CLEVELAND – The Twins’ cross-your-fingers optimism that Sam Dyson’s shoulder would heal in time to help again this season lasted two pitches.
Dyson, acquired minutes before the trade deadline in July, threw those pitches in the Progressive Field bullpen Friday, the first time he had stood on a mound in 10 days, and the pain in his right shoulder immediately returned.
“I was optimistic last week, and I was in the recovery process, but throwing [Friday], it wasn’t a positive note,” Dyson said. “At some point, you can’t push things.”
The next step? Season-ending surgery is a real possibility. On Sept. 23, Dyson is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles to see orthopedic specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the same surgeon who operated on Byron Buxton on Tuesday, for an examination. But the Twins already know what he’ll find.
Dyson underwent an arthrogram — a procedure in which dye is injected into the shoulder to help reveal any damage — on Sept. 5. “The findings were consistent with a joint capsule sprain,” some fraying in the ligaments in the front of the shoulder, said Tony Leo, the Twins’ head athletic trainer. “It’s a possibility that [surgery] might need to be done.”
The 31-year-old righthander has been dogged by shoulder pain since being acquired for a trio of minor leaguers, and he revealed after the trade that the condition had bothered him for weeks before that.
After a stint on the 10-day injured list that began only three days after the deal, Dyson returned and displayed the effectiveness the Twins believed they were acquiring: A 2.53 ERA in 10 appearances, with six holds. But the pain grew too great during his Sept. 3 outing against the Red Sox, and the Twins sent him home to be examined.
“It settled down to the point where I could move my arm and feel like I was comfortable throwing,” said Dyson, who is under team control for 2020 as well. “But I hadn’t thrown, and we were just going to give it some time. And it hadn’t really bounced back.”
Another fresh arm
While the Twins waited out Friday’s rain, their front office began preparing for Saturday’s doubleheader — by waking up Jorge Alcala.
The 24-year-old righthander was asleep at the team’s Fort Myers, Fla., complex, where he had stayed just in case the Twins needed him. After being promoted, along with Class AA Pensacola teammate Brusdar Graterol, to Class AAA Rochester for an extended tryout in August, the Twins decided to elevate only Graterol to the majors.
But 18 bullpen innings in one day tends to change minds.
“He’s been in shape, and he’s been taking care of himself and throwing,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of the decision to add Alcala to the roster for Saturday and the final two weeks. “We felt like this was definitely the proper time to make it happen.”
Alcala is more of an emergency option, a pitcher likely to be used in blowout wins or losses if the Twins’ 15-man bullpen somehow runs out of fresh arms. But that doesn’t matter to a hard-throwing Dominican who went 5-7 with a 5.87 ERA at Pensacola this season.
“I didn’t know how to act when I got the call. I was very happy,” Alcala said. “After I hung up, the first person I called was my mom. I’m just excited to be here.”
And the Twins are glad to have him, Baldelli said.
“He’s got a good arm,” the manager said. “I know our player development guys really like him.”
The Twins designated Class AA righthander Marcos Diplan, acquired for cash from Milwaukee in June, for assignment to make room for Alcala.
Adrianza back with team
Ehire Adrianza flew to Cleveland to rejoin the team, and said he hasn’t given up on rejoining them on the field, too. The infielder strained his right oblique while swinging Thursday, but “it’s not as [bad] as I expected,” he said. “I expect to play again this season. That’s my goal, and I’ll see how it goes.”