Notes: Kirilloff on wrist; Romo talks up Twins

May 16th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- The decision as to whether will require surgery could come within the next week.

Kirilloff continued his progress in testing his sprained right wrist with batting practice in the cage on Sunday and expects to push into hitting on the field before Monday's series opener against the White Sox. Assuming things go well, he'll hit against some velocity and offspeed pitches.

Then, he expects it will be decision time as to whether he'll undergo a surgical procedure or progress to a rehab assignment and an eventual return to the field.

"I wouldn't want to put my teammates or my team in jeopardy just because I wanted to go out and play," Kirilloff said. "I wouldn't get out there unless I felt like I could be effective playing and I felt confident enough in my wrist to do that."

He's taken ground balls and fly balls and done baserunning drills without any problems, but his decision will be dictated instead by his comfort and pain levels with his swing as part of a progression that began during the Twins' last road trip to Chicago.

Kirilloff, the No. 2 prospect in the organization, said that there have been similar cases in sports like hockey and tennis, though he declined to elaborate on the specifics of his injury. There's some precedent, he said, for athletes playing through the issue altogether. There's also a chance that he could play through the injury and undergo a procedure during the offseason.

So far, so good, he says.

"It doesn't sound to me like something that you can make worse with using it and trying to 'go for it' in terms of overall health and wrist health," Kirilloff said. "So I feel comfortable just trying to push it as long as I don't have any heavy symptoms while doing it. Pretty encouraged so far."

If Kirilloff were to require a procedure, the recovery timeline remains unclear and would depend on the extent of the damage they found in the area during surgery. His understanding is that there's one possibility with a shorter recovery timetable (four to six weeks) or one with a longer timetable (three to four months).

Considering the Twins' current outfield depth challenges, good news on the Kirilloff front would go a long way in setting them on a winning path. The 23-year-old led the Twins in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate before his injury while hitting .214/.227/.571 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 12 games.

Romo on Twins: 'Not a group you want to sleep on'
A's reliever Sergio Romo was nervous entering this series between the A's and Twins -- nervous that he would celebrate a strikeout and then instinctively walk into the Minnesota dugout down the first-base line and not the visitors' dugout on the other side.

"It's still so fresh," Romo said before Friday's series opener. "It's not like it's an extremely long time ago to where it doesn't feel like home for me. But again, good times. I'm excited to see my guys."

Through both his actions and his words, Romo made it clear that he still cares deeply about the Twins and the personnel he grew to love here over a season and a half in Minnesota before the club declined a club option on him for the 2021 season.

When asked about the struggles of the 2021 Twins, Romo went down the list, player by player, of a sizable chunk of the roster, with detailed impressions about how they've looked recently and why he thinks they'll bounce back.

"I don't know if you guys have noticed, but I've watched," he said with a laugh. "It's hard not to care even though it was a year and a half. It may not seem like a long time to certain folks. There was a lot of good times and they helped me out in my life, too, not just as a baseball player."

Romo hung around the batting cage with his old Twins teammates while they took batting practice and even pranced into manager Rocco Baldelli's office on Saturday, the skipper said. So, Romo might be offering an educated opinion when he says he expects the Twins to turn things around -- and soon.

"It's not a group you want to sleep on at any time, either, a team that can literally turn it on at the drop of a dime," Romo said. "Talentwise, they match up with anybody. You've got to take them serious regardless of their standing and if it's surprising or not. To see them where they're at that, it's still not a group of guys you want to look past by any means."