Altercation results in broken jaw for Twins pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jordan Balazovic will miss the beginning of spring once more, however this time the Twins are disenchanted in a completely totally different manner.
Whereas the previous top-100 prospect missed time final spring with a knee damage found after the lockout ended, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey introduced Saturday that Balazovic is out after he sustained a broken jaw in “an altercation away from the sphere.”
Balazovic underwent surgical procedure to wire his jaw shut on Sunday and is unavailable firstly of camp, Falvey mentioned.
Beforehand a top-100 prospect in response to The Athletic, Baseball America, MLB and Baseball Prospectus, Balazovic struggled in 2022, producing a mixed 7.68 ERA in 72 2/3 innings between Single A and Triple A.
Although Balazovic might play catch as quickly as 7-10 days, Falvey isn’t happy.
“Clearly it’s a disappointing scenario,” Falvey mentioned. “We have been hopeful that after he’s handled some issues over the past couple of years, bodily and making an attempt to get on monitor that we have been hoping to start out camp in a standard manner and form of progress. … He must get going from a pitching standpoint right here quickly and hopefully proceed to progress. It’s disappointing. No different strategy to put it.”
A group supply mentioned Balazovic was struck in the jaw after he was concerned in a verbal altercation at an unidentified native institution final Saturday night time. Balazovic by no means threw a punch of his personal and there are not any authorized points stemming from the incident.
Nonetheless, the Twins aren’t proud of the actions of the 24-year-old pitcher, who pitched in the 2019 All-Star Futures Sport.
Talking to the media after Falvey made the announcement, Twins supervisor Rocco Baldelli made a terse assertion concerning the subject and moved on.
“You may learn into this and say no matter you guys wish to say: It’s disappointing,” Baldelli mentioned. “Perhaps that’s truly higher than me truly making an attempt to place phrases to it.
“I’ve been round him. He’s been in camp. However we haven’t seen a lot of him.”
#MNTwins No. 2 prospect Jordan Balazovic followers his eleventh of the sport in a one-hit outing for the @WindSurgeICT. pic.twitter.com/sRYpoGY2B7
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 16, 2021
A fifth-round pick of highschool in the 2016 draft, Balazovic gave the impression to be on the quick monitor after he pitched in the Futures Sport and posted a 2.69 ERA whereas hanging out 129 batters in 93 2/3 innings at Single A in 2019.
Balazovic solely made a late summer time look on the group’s alternate web site through the COVID-shortened 2020 season after which obtained off to a gradual begin in 2021 when he suffered an indirect pressure throughout his solely spring coaching outing. Balazovic additionally was sidelined early in the 2021 season by a proper shoulder impingement, however rebounded and completed with 102 strikeouts and a 3.62 ERA in 97 innings at Double A.
As a result of he’d been added to the group’s 40-man, Balazovic wasn’t allowed to contact the Twins concerning the knee damage he sustained through the 100-day lockout. The group found it throughout his bodily upon his arrival at camp final March and Balazovic missed the primary three weeks of the season, not making his debut till Might 1.
Even then, Balazovic struggled many of the season. In his first 14 begins, Balazovic accomplished 4 innings solely as soon as. However he did flip a nook over his ultimate eight begins, hanging out 38 batters and posting a 3.55 ERA in 33 innings, a stint that gave the Twins hope for this season.
“We noticed some indicators on the finish of final yr from a pitching standpoint the place issues have been going slightly bit higher for him,” Falvey mentioned. “He didn’t have the yr that we have been hopeful to have final yr so it simply delays that begin once more. … All of us must bear in mind that the choices we make, the place we go, what we do at totally different occasions can have ramifications and I feel we simply wish to be sure that right here that we’re being clear that we have to prioritize baseball and what’s occurring going ahead. That’s the message that we collectively delivered in this case.”
Buxton works out wholesome knee
A day after he arrived at camp, Byron Buxton labored out his surgically-repaired proper knee for group trainers on Saturday afternoon. 5 months after he had arthroscopic surgical procedure, Buxton is in good condition and isn’t restricted this spring, the Twins mentioned.
Even so, the Twins plan to be conservative through the early portion of camp with Buxton and Jorge Polanco, who spent the whole offseason rehabbing a painful proper knee.
“We’ll be cautious as (Buxton) form of ramps again,” Falvey mentioned. “We’re going to take it gradual in the early going. What day he’s going full tilt, aggressive (batting practices) and again discipline versus recreation, that’s TBD. However there’s nothing he’s coming in with that’s a problem. We’ll simply in all probability be on the conservative facet of issues, similar with Polo. He completed the yr with the knee stuff, progressing effectively, in all probability going to extra again discipline than he’s speedy recreation stuff to ensure he’s monitoring effectively.”
Polanco missed 58 video games final season, together with the group’s ultimate 37 contests with proper knee tendinitis. He spent half of the offseason in Fort Myers rehabbing the damage and mentioned the ache is gone. He feels good and is OK with the early coaching wheels as a result of he must construct knee power.
“I don’t really feel something,” Polanco mentioned. “I feel it’s a part of the method. It’s why I’m going gradual, so I can begin build up from there and I begin doing extra issues. As soon as I begin doing that, I feel I’ll be able to go. … I really feel good proper now. It’s simply the plan. We’ve obtained a plan. I’ve obtained to get my knee prepared. We’re simply going with the plan to start out gradual, and construct up till I’m able to play.”
Regardless of their gradual begins, Falvey mentioned there’s no indications Buxton or Polanco wouldn’t be prepared for Opening Day.
Good signal for Kirilloff
Falvey famous that whereas Alex Kirilloff can also be off to a intentionally gradual begin this spring following his second wrist surgical procedure, the early results have proven promise. Kirilloff’s surgical procedure final season was a drastic one in which docs deliberately broke the bones in his wrist in order to shave one all the way down to keep away from them from rubbing in opposition to one another in the longer term.
Due to the complicated nature of the process, Kirilloff is behind his friends in the variety of swings he has taken at this level in the offseason.
“That’s by design,” Falvey mentioned. “The excellent news is his suggestions and the coaches’ suggestions is he’s letting it go and he’s by no means coming in on the finish of the day, strolling into that room and going, ‘Hey, I’ve obtained some soreness.’”
Information and notes
Buxton was joined by outfielder Michael A. Taylor in arriving on Friday, which meant each member of the Twins’ 40-man roster is already in camp. The group’s place gamers aren’t required to examine in till Sunday with the primary full-squad exercise coming Monday. … Proper-handed pitcher Griffin Jax’s spouse is due with their first youngster on March 26, although the couple’s physician might induce labor every week early to keep away from any interference with the group’s March 30 opener at Kansas Metropolis. … Whereas he arrived in Fort Myers on Friday, Carlos Correa’s household remained behind in Houston. His spouse, Daniella, is due with their second youngster on March 11. Realizing how a lot he’d miss his 14-month-old son, Kylo, Correa’s household gave him an opulent Cabbage Patch-type doll with a picture of his son’s face on it to convey to camp. … The group’s catchers battled robust winds as they participated in a popup drill on the primary discipline on Saturday afternoon. Regardless of the troublesome circumstances and some drops, Twins catching/first-base coach Hank Conger jokingly steered the group was in “the very best form of its life” after a formidable session. … The Twins spent a part of Friday afternoon filming commercials that includes their gamers and a few of their hobbies or pursuits. Amongst these featured in the commercials are Buxton, Joe Ryan, Jhoan Duran, Correa and Baldelli.
(High photograph of Jordan Balazovic in 2021: Courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn / Twins)