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  • Brent Rooker Suffers Season-Ending Forearm Fracture


    Tom Froemming

    Brent Rooker was making the most of an unexpected opportunity with the Twins, hitting .316/.381/.579 (.960 OPS) heading into his second plate appearance Saturday night. Then, in a flash, his season was over.

    Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    Rooker was hit in his right forearm by an 86 mph changeup from Zach Plesac, the first batter he’s hit all season. Here’s a look:

    The combination of that changeup, which breaks in to a right-handed batter, getting away from Plesac and Rooker starting and checking his swing made for the perfect recipe for disaster. It’s actually pretty remarkable things like this don’t happen more often.

    There’s no way to spin this as anything but terrible news for Rooker, but all things considered, this will end as a positive season for him.

    Rooker proved he was ready for the big leagues by hitting .319/.463/.572 (1.036 OPS) over his final 41 Triple-A games last season. Still, with the 2020 Twins lineup already established, it was going to be difficult for him to find opportunities for playing time.

    Max Kepler’s trip to the IL opened the door, and Rooker did not disappoint. It was only seven games and 21 plate appearances, but Rooker went 6-for-19 with a pair of doubles and a home run.

    https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1303474541230993409

    Rooker posted a 14.3 barrel %, 89.1 mph exit velocity and 50% hard-hit rate, all of which are above the MLB averages. He’s one of only four Twins batters to hit a ball in excess of 112 mph this season, joining Miguel Sanó, Nelson Cruz and fellow rookie Ryan Jeffers in accomplishing that feat.

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    Honestly I didn't think Rookers bat would look this good at the MLB level even in a small sample size, so his debut was impressive to me.  Just when it seemed he was comfortable he gets hurts.  The guy has had some seriously bad injury luck pretty much every year.  I feel bad for him and wish him a speedy recovery.  He can certainly hold his head high for helping the team while he was there.

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    Tough break for Rooker.

     

    But I was wondering -- on that HBP, does the check swing count as an effort to avoid getting hit? Otherwise, he didn't really move, so I think it could be a dead ball and called a ball rather than a HBP.

     

    I know a check swing doesn't feel like much of an attempt to avoid getting hit, but it's such a subjective determination and is so rarely made, maybe umps do consider that. Just curious.

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    Next year we have Kiriloff, Larnach, Rooker all MLB ready and it is a shame to keep pushing them down to wait another year.  I think Rooker made the team by his effort this year.  Cave and Wade could be trade bait, but not too many teams need OF - except the Indians and no way does that work out.   The Giants and Marlins need OF help as well as the Orioles and Royals - no way.  Get the phones going this winter Mr Falvey.

     

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    not too many teams need OF - except the Indians and no way does that work out.   The Giants and Marlins need OF help as well as the Orioles and Royals - no way. 

    Well, every team needs 4+ outfielders. And Cave's demonstrated ability to play CF plus his option year remaining could be appealing to almost any team. Wade should have an option year left too. Not that either would fetch a great haul, but we could find a decent match.

     

    On a surprising tangent, the 3 primary OF listed for the Giants on B-Ref right now have OPS+ figures of 138, 159, and 179. Plus a 102 guy on the bench who has primarily played CF this year, and a 149 "utility" guy who has gotten most of his reps in LF this year. And all of those guys are controlled for 2-5 more seasons. (Now, a few of them might be stone gloves or playing out of position, but still...)

     

    The Giants altogether are very surprising -- 23-22, in the #7 playoff spot, team OPS+ of 116. Pitching has been weaker but still has some solid performers in Cueto, Gausman, etc.

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    A real shame, he was settling in nicely and had some big hits. There's no question that his power production can play at the MLB level and he had done well in this short stint at controlling the strike zone (better than he had in the minors).

     

    I think he'll get an opportunity to compete for a role next season. Too bad it ended so quickly for him, he did a great job taking advantage of his opportunity and gave the team a nice boost.

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    Next year we have Kiriloff, Larnach, Rooker all MLB ready and it is a shame to keep pushing them down to wait another year.  I think Rooker made the team by his effort this year.  Cave and Wade could be trade bait, but not too many teams need OF - except the Indians and no way does that work out.   The Giants and Marlins need OF help as well as the Orioles and Royals - no way.  Get the phones going this winter Mr Falvey.

     

    Always thought the D-Backs would be a good place for Cave to get consistent ABs. As for Wade, I can’t imagine him getting dealt, if anything he’s probably Cave’s replacement.

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    Not much info about the injury yet. Whether it is the Ulna or Radius is a big difference. While the Ulna is the non weight bearing of the pair, it can be slower to heal. Heezy? This looks like a minor fracture impact to me. Certainly not a total separation, so no plate needed.

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    Not much info about the injury yet. Whether it is the Ulna or Radius is a big difference. While the Ulna is the non weight bearing of the pair, it can be slower to heal. Heezy? This looks like a minor fracture impact to me. Certainly not a total separation, so no plate needed.

    The radius is on the thumb side and the ulna is on the pinky side. Based on how the ball hit him I'd think it would have to be the ulna.

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    Not much info about the injury yet. Whether it is the Ulna or Radius is a big difference. While the Ulna is the non weight bearing of the pair, it can be slower to heal. Heezy? This looks like a minor fracture impact to me. Certainly not a total separation, so no plate needed.

    Agree with Nine of twelve, this pitch looks to have hit him just at or above the wrist, almost certainly on the ulnar side. At the level of the wrist, the ulna is the smaller bone on the small finger side of the forearm. It's obviously hard to say exactly where this pitch hit him- whether it is a fracture of the ulna right at the wrist and into the wrist joint (what we would call intra-articular) or more on the shaft of the ulna (away from the joint a bit, within the bone itself or extra-articular). Neither is ideal, obviously, but you would prefer that the fracture be away from the joint so that there is less risk of damage to the cartilage of the wrist joint. Cartilage has less blood supply and therefore less healing potential when compared to bone.

     We do occasionally hear about injuries to part of the wrist cartilage in baseball players. This is called the Triangular Fibro-Cartilage Complex (TFCC for short). I believe Carl Crawford and Matt Holliday had this issue some years ago. 

     I am hopeful this is a fracture above the wrist joint, and involves only the bone of the ulna. This would typically be fixed with a plate and several screws to hold the bone in the appropriate position while the body heals the fracture. Healing of these type of fractures often takes around 6-8 weeks. On occasion, ulna fractures can have trouble healing and may heal slowly, or in rare cases not heal at all. In those cases, sometimes additional surgery or other treatments may be needed to get the bone to heal. 

     There are also tendons that glide close to the ulna in this area, and the sheath they glide in could potentially be damaged as well in this case. This can occasionally cause issues for baseball players as well (i.e. Mark Tiexeira). 

     Overall, definitely a bummer for Rooker, who was having a nice start to his career. Without knowing details, it's difficult to comment on the time frame for recovery or the likelihood of this affecting him in the future. Let's hope it's a straightforward fracture and surgery goes smoothly. I know the Twins have an excellent group of physicians to take great care of him. 

     Let me know if folks have questions or would like me to clarify anything. 

     

    GO TWINS!!!

     

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    Agree with Nine of twelve, this pitch looks to have hit him just at or above the wrist, almost certainly on the ulnar side. At the level of the wrist, the ulna is the smaller bone on the small finger side of the forearm. It's obviously hard to say exactly where this pitch hit him- whether it is a fracture of the ulna right at the wrist and into the wrist joint (what we would call intra-articular) or more on the shaft of the ulna (away from the joint a bit, within the bone itself or extra-articular). Neither is ideal, obviously, but you would prefer that the fracture be away from the joint so that there is less risk of damage to the cartilage of the wrist joint. Cartilage has less blood supply and therefore less healing potential when compared to bone.

     We do occasionally hear about injuries to part of the wrist cartilage in baseball players. This is called the Triangular Fibro-Cartilage Complex (TFCC for short). I believe Carl Crawford and Matt Holliday had this issue some years ago. 

     I am hopeful this is a fracture above the wrist joint, and involves only the bone of the ulna. This would typically be fixed with a plate and several screws to hold the bone in the appropriate position while the body heals the fracture. Healing of these type of fractures often takes around 6-8 weeks. On occasion, ulna fractures can have trouble healing and may heal slowly, or in rare cases not heal at all. In those cases, sometimes additional surgery or other treatments may be needed to get the bone to heal. 

     There are also tendons that glide close to the ulna in this area, and the sheath they glide in could potentially be damaged as well in this case. This can occasionally cause issues for baseball players as well (i.e. Mark Tiexeira). 

     Overall, definitely a bummer for Rooker, who was having a nice start to his career. Without knowing details, it's difficult to comment on the time frame for recovery or the likelihood of this affecting him in the future. Let's hope it's a straightforward fracture and surgery goes smoothly. I know the Twins have an excellent group of physicians to take great care of him. 

     Let me know if folks have questions or would like me to clarify anything. 

     

    GO TWINS!!!

     

    You are a treasure for TD! Thank you so much for your informed analyses. We all tend to speculate regarding things about which we know little, so advice from a true expect is priceless!

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    You are a treasure for TD! Thank you so much for your informed analyses. We all tend to speculate regarding things about which we know little, so advice from a true expect is priceless!

    Wholeheartedly agree.

     

    How are you doing in Portland?  (Apologies if this has already been asked and answered.)

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    Wholeheartedly agree.

     

    How are you doing in Portland?  (Apologies if this has already been asked and answered.)

     

    Off topic, but thanks for asking. The last week has looked like the apocalypse here. The air quality index was 516 yesterday, which is beyond the top of the "hazardous" region. They don't have a name for it, just "beyond scale." That said, we are grateful that the high east winds that were blowing the fires (and the smoke) from the forests into Portland have subsided, and it looks like the main metro area is not going to be threatened by fire.

     

    It seems a bit like rooting for the Yankees to be hoping for rain in Portland, but that's what we need to clean out the air. Maybe tonight or tomorrow, and likely at the end of the week. There is hope!

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    Too bad for Rooker. He has looked good at the plate in his limited big league at-bats. That said, he may have been on his way back to St. Paul (either him or Wade) with Kepler being ready to come off the Injured List. 21 plate appearances isn't enough to know how good of a hitter he is or will be. I will say that his stint was encouraging, but doesn't make him a centerpiece for future Twins teams. 

     

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    Always thought the D-Backs would be a good place for Cave to get consistent ABs. As for Wade, I can’t imagine him getting dealt, if anything he’s probably Cave’s replacement.

    Wade is a nice player.

    So was Brian Duensing.

     

    He's not going to get anything in return.

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    Small sample size, but Rooker's bat looks just fine at the MLB level. Off season, he should try to expand his repertoire of positions, like 3rd and 1st base. This guy will have a pro career, either in Minnesota or elsewhere. He's got 30-hr potential. 

    I can't think of an example where a poor defender was moved from OF to IF at the MLB level (not counting 1B).

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    I can't think of an example where a poor defender was moved from OF to IF at the MLB level (not counting 1B).

    Maybe I'm a traditionalist, but it appears to me that roles available for next year for Rooker would be platoon/4th outfielder and backup at first base and DH in the event of injury. Honestly, having a guy with limited defensive ability and flexibility is not my idea of good roster building. It is also unknown whether Rooker can perform well with sporadic playing time (probably my main complaint about Cave), so unless the roster is really juggled next year, I don't see a role for him. 

     

    Also, the Twins currently have Kepler, Rosario, Cave, Wade, Kirilloff and Larnach as corner outfielders and Cruz and Sanó to cover first base and DH. There aren't enough roster sports for all of the corner outfielders. The shortened season might have kept the team from dealing with the logjam, but something probably needs to be done by Opening Day of 2021.

     

     

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    The radius is on the thumb side and the ulna is on the pinky side. Based on how the ball hit him I'd think it would have to be the ulna.

     

    Yup. Looks like the ulna to me, too. I'm betting as an armchair doctor that has had a complete break of the right ulna mid shaft plated, and then a second non-union surgery a year and a half later with allograft and electrical stimulation that created alternating reverse magnetic polarites that I wore as a cuff.... and subsequent removal of plate a year ago after 28 years (many never have it removed, but it was starting to bother soft tissue and doesn't need to be there anymore)..... that it will need immobilized, but will not need a plate embedded, and will heal pretty well with no future problems, especially with his age - still younger than 26.

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    Maybe I'm a traditionalist, but it appears to me that roles available for next year for Rooker would be platoon/4th outfielder and backup at first base and DH in the event of injury. Honestly, having a guy with limited defensive ability and flexibility is not my idea of good roster building. It is also unknown whether Rooker can perform well with sporadic playing time (probably my main complaint about Cave), so unless the roster is really juggled next year, I don't see a role for him. 

     

    Also, the Twins currently have Kepler, Rosario, Cave, Wade, Kirilloff and Larnach as corner outfielders and Cruz and Sanó to cover first base and DH. There aren't enough roster sports for all of the corner outfielders. The shortened season might have kept the team from dealing with the logjam, but something probably needs to be done by Opening Day of 2021.

     

    I think, as the roster stands today, for 2021 they deal Rosario then let Rooker/Larnach/Kiriloff battle it out in Spring Training. If one struggles to adapt, they have the others (and Cave) as backup plans. That's also pretending it's business as usual in 2021. I see Wade as valuable, but not in the picture for a starting role.

     

    Given how Rocco rests players and the loss of a year of minor league development, they can get by with 4 "starters". Especially if Marwin is gone and Kepler still has a big split in LHP/RHP.

     

    Anyway, getting off track here. Best of luck in recovery for Rooker. At least he got a taste of The Show. Far fewer prospects get to say that this year.

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