Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Will Alex Kirilloff Ever Truly Recover?


Twins Daily Contributor

Last season, the Minnesota Twins watched as promising young slugger Alex Kirilloff had his power sapped due to a nagging wrist issue. Unfortunately, it never corrected itself and he underwent season-ending surgery. After a slow start again this year, he was jettisoned to Triple-A. After working through it, a fresh start was earned, but now we’re again back in the same place.

 

For now, the Twins have yet to place Alex Kirilloff on the injured list, but Rocco Baldelli indicated he would be re-evaluated prior to Minnesota facing the Detroit Tigers, and that the pain had gotten to the point where Kirilloff could again not swing a bat.

When he was demoted to Triple-A earlier this season, Kirilloff owned a paltry .172/.226/.172 slash line. It was just a 10-game sample size, but he had zero extra-base hits and a 12/1 K/BB. By any statistical measure, it was a nightmare start. Considering last season's surgery was supposed to do the trick, it’s becoming increasingly worrisome that despite a recent check-in to suggest things were physically fine, he’s unable to perform to the fullest extent.

Back in April, it was reported that Kirilloff had shut down his offseason training program due to pain, but was good to go to start Spring Training in March. Prior to playing for the Saints, Kirilloff received a cortisone shot in mid-April. That’s been largely a route for pain management rather than actually fixing the issue, so it always remained curious as to when this problem could again flare up.

Returning to the Twins in mid-June, Kirilloff played 13 games for Minnesota throughout the month and posted a .790 OPS. The batting average was there, but he generated just six extra-base hits including only a single home run. The month of July went even worse, unfortunately. A .254/.303/.366 slash line suggested that the ability to drive the baseball was again all but gone. Kirilloff had just four extra-base hits in 21 games last month, split between doubles and homers.

There does seem to be some understanding of his limitations while Kirilloff continues to utilize the whole field when facing opposing pitchers. If his wrist doesn’t allow for consistent forearm strength against velocity, utilizing the opposite field makes a ton of sense. He hasn’t been entirely pull happy since his return, and whether by design or happenstance, that’s a plan that can work.

The problem for both Kirilloff and Minnesota is that this outcome saps production and so much of the value in his game as a whole. He’s not a defensive stalwart, even at first base where he should find a home, and being a singles hitter is not who he strives to be. Kirilloff has basically never been able to flash the power potential he provides due to lacking health from the moment he’s arrived in Minnesota.

Where both parties go from here remains to be seen. During the season Minnesota’s goal was certainly to have the slugger available to him. He’s also been told through additional imaging that things remain status quo. There’s no reason to cut his hand open for the sake of doing so, but any number of new opinions must be sought in order to find the root issue. Give it to Kirilloff for attempting to play through the problem and seeking a better outcome. Both sides can try to limp this thing through the Postseason in hopes of finding whatever value there is to be had, but this isn’t something that can go on forever.

For now, Minnesota has virtually never seen a fully healthy Alex Kirilloff at the Major League level, and the more this cycle goes on one has to wonder if we ever will.

 


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

Verified Member

I have often thought that the Alex Kirilloff working his ways towards the Twins was so similar to Jason Kubel.  Both appeared to be special, very special hitters.  After breaking in with the Twins late in the season, Kubel went to the AFL where he had a serious knee injury.  He never recovered the speed he once had and the injury had a lasting effect on his hitting. 

As you stated, the Twins have yet to see AK swing the bat like he is capable of.  Will they be able to fix his wrist so he can be that hitter in 2023?  2024?  Hopefully, he does find the fix and is the hitter we hoped for while still with the Twins, and not later in his career with another team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely hope he/the team get some other opinions.  It's turning into an episode of that Mystery Diagnosis show.  I mean how do "the pain had gotten to a point where [he] could again not swing a bat" and "things remain status quo" fit together?

I wish him the best and hope that someday we can see him smile more despite his stoic personality.  I understand he's a person of deep faith, so I hope that's helping him.

From a team perspective, the "where to play Miranda, Urshela and Arraez" problem has been temporarily solved.  I think it would be wise to keep all three in a Twins uniform in the offseason.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
11 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

How so? He's hurt. How is that on the organization? Seriously. Sometimes this site....

They don't really know why he's still having wrist pain after more than a year. I think it's fair to consider that a failure of the Twins medical/training staff to get a good diagnosis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

They don't really know why he's still having wrist pain after more than a year. I think it's fair to consider that a failure of the Twins medical/training staff to get a good diagnosis.

His doctors outside the Twins doesn't have an answer, either ... I don't think this one is on the Twins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
3 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

His doctors outside the Twins doesn't have an answer, either ... I don't think this one is on the Twins.

I'm not saying the Twins always have to get it right, but they've got a multi-million dollar asset and they've failed to diagnose the problem with it. It doesn't really matter who's fault it is specifically, but it's basically either Alex Kirilloff's or the organization's, isn't it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, bean5302 said:

I'm not saying the Twins always have to get it right, but they've got a multi-million dollar asset and they've failed to diagnose the problem with it. It doesn't really matter who's fault it is specifically, but it's basically either Alex Kirilloff's or the organization's, isn't it?

No, it isn't. Honestly. Sometimes there isn't a medical solution to body parts that won't cooperate. His surgeon isn't part of the Twins org, and even his surgeon doesn't really know what to do. I'm not sure why, in this instance, there has to be blame on anyone. Whatever the problems, I hope the various entities ... AK, his surgeon, the Twins medical people ... can help find a solution. But sometimes injuries just suck and shorten careers ... to no fault of anyone. Why do you insist on blaming someone here? It just plain sucks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed. Also, the issue may be partially mental as well as physical. He had a significant injury on his wrist. It is unlikely to ever be the same as is was before the surgery. Hopefully they can find a way to alleviate the inflammation to give him some relief. Even if they do, it starting to look like part of playing long term for him is probably going to include pain management and a willingness to play through pain, i.e., swing hard through the zone when it hurts to do so.  That's a hard pill to swallow when you're 35 and trying to extend your career, even harder when you're 24 and just starting out. 

I agree that he should get 2nd and 3rd opinions to see if there's surgical cure or therapy regimen. I hope there is. I suspect though that his career going forward is going to include a need to play through pain and accept a pre-game regimen to allow him to play similar to what Buxton goes through. That requires him to make a mental adjustment. I hope he can. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will leave the medical diagnosis to the doctors and trainers as I simply don't know enough to determine if he will ever be pain free, or what the exact problem is.   I will just say, during his time at St. Paul this year, after the cortisone shot I believe, he looked great.  I saw him live a couple of times and on MiLBTV a lot, and he was driving the ball.  So, he clearly can hit when he is pain free.  I hope they find a way to solve the injury/pain issue because this kid--yes, like Kubel--could be real special.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
33 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

No, it isn't. Honestly. Sometimes there isn't a medical solution to body parts that won't cooperate. His surgeon isn't part of the Twins org, and even his surgeon doesn't really know what to do. I'm not sure why, in this instance, there has to be blame on anyone. Whatever the problems, I hope the various entities ... AK, his surgeon, the Twins medical people ... can help find a solution. But sometimes injuries just suck and shorten careers ... to no fault of anyone. Why do you insist on blaming someone here? It just plain sucks.

Got it. Act of God. Nobody has responsibility for multi-million dollar assets. Sometimes things just don't work. What can you do?Somehow, I just don't think that perspective flies in big business.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
14 minutes ago, Brett said:

I miss the days of having outfield depth. When was that…May? June?
 

Now we’re starting Cave, Gordon and Contreras for the 2nd day in a row. Nice players, but complimentary at best. We can’t expect yesterday’s results out of them every day.

Which brings up the question........ What happened to Buxton? Did not play in the first 2 games against Detroit. Did I missed something?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old-Timey Member
2 hours ago, Brett said:

I miss the days of having outfield depth. When was that…May? June?
 

Now we’re starting Cave, Gordon and Contreras for the 2nd day in a row. Nice players, but complimentary at best. We can’t expect yesterday’s results out of them every day.

I just can't blame the FO for this.....Larnach, Kiriloff, Lewis, Kepler all hurt at the same time. Plus Garlick may now be hurt. It's hard to see how any team could lose their 2-5th best OFers at the same time and have a good OF during that time. Luckily, Gordon is actually have a decent year. And Celestino just isn't quite ready (is he hurt, I've lost count). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Community Moderator

Here is a link -- https://www.thestar.com/sports/2010/03/04/hightech_batting_gloves_get_thumbsup.html

 

"Essentially it will reduce the impact by over 60 per cent, so a 100 mile-an-hour fastball will be reduced to that of a 39 mile-an-hour fastball, which is the difference between being in a cast and being a little bit sore," he said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old-Timey Member
1 minute ago, glunn said:

Here is a link -- https://www.thestar.com/sports/2010/03/04/hightech_batting_gloves_get_thumbsup.html

 

"Essentially it will reduce the impact by over 60 per cent, so a 100 mile-an-hour fastball will be reduced to that of a 39 mile-an-hour fastball, which is the difference between being in a cast and being a little bit sore," he said.

And here I thought your first post was a joke. Interesting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was thinking Kubel, too.

You can have surgery. And he has. 

You can take drugs, which do marvelous things, but also does things to you longer term.

I start thinking Jim Eisenreich. At what point does he move past the issues and just play ball, masking his hurts and pains.

Yet I also think of Chuck Knoblauch. Things just happen.

I want the Twins to stay with him, work with him, and do what is best to keep him playing baseball in some capacity for the Twins as long as he can. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Community Moderator
5 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

How so? He's hurt. How is that on the organization? Seriously. Sometimes this site....

I don't know that we can or should blame the Twins for an injury. Nor for any lack of medical solutions. **** happens.

However--and I'm a guy that pretty much says "rub some dirt on it and get back out there"--I do question how he was allowed to get to the point where it hurt enough that he "couldn't swing a bat."

Somebody ain't doing their job for it to get to that point. Particularly with a known and seemingly chronic injury.

It wasn't like it was a sudden thing, or there weren't strong indicators he was having trouble turning on pitches.

Somebody should have done something before it got that bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, bean5302 said:

I'm not saying the Twins always have to get it right, but they've got a multi-million dollar asset and they've failed to diagnose the problem with it. It doesn't really matter who's fault it is specifically, but it's basically either Alex Kirilloff's or the organization's, isn't it?

There's an assumption here that all injuries have diagnoses that can be found. The body has a lot of medical mysteries even in this modern medical era. There a millions of people in the USA with conditions that doctors cannot diagnose or cannot treat. Throwing money and doctors at the human body won't always result in answers, and that's not necessarily anyones fault. Obviously there's a lot we don't know in this situation, but I don't get the feeling there's an easy answer here or that someone is at fault. It just sucks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

I don't know that we can or should blame the Twins for an injury. Nor for any lack of medical solutions. **** happens.

However--and I'm a guy that pretty much says "rub some dirt on it and get back out there"--I do question how he was allowed to get to the point where it hurt enough that he "couldn't swing a bat."

Somebody ain't doing their job for it to get to that point. Particularly with a known and seemingly chronic injury.

It wasn't like it was a sudden thing, or there weren't strong indicators he was having trouble turning on pitches.

Somebody should have done something before it got that bad.

I agree with that last part....he should not be on the roster if he can't play. Well, pretty much your whole post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Got it. Act of God. Nobody has responsibility for multi-million dollar assets. Sometimes things just don't work. What can you do?Somehow, I just don't think that perspective flies in big business.

 

Having responsibility for multi million dollar assets doesn't mean you can just wish miracles on people's bodies...how many athletes do you think we could name right now that have had careers altered or cut short by injuries? It happens, and it sucks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Twins community on the internet.

×
×
  • Create New...