FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Kyle Gibson is expected to have a slower progression through Spring Training following his recovery from a bout with E. coli in January, but his arm and energy levels feel good and his extra effort in spring camp will go towards building strength and muscle mass.
"One of the things [is] the dehydration, and you just want to stay away from pushing a guy too hard, too early, because it could just create a soft tissue injury," chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "[It's] nothing related to the elbow or shoulder, even. Could he get a hamstring-related issue or something like that? We want to be attentive to something like that the best we can."
The 31-year-old weighed in at 203 pounds on Wednesday, 12 pounds shy of his desired playing weight of 215. He was unable to stick to his workout schedule while dealing with the illness, but he started to lift more weights two weeks ago in an effort to start regaining muscle mass.:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Gibson kept playing catch through the ordeal and continued his offseason shoulder program from the last few seasons, so his arm is in good shape prior to Thursday's first scheduled workout for pitchers and catchers. He threw a bullpen session on Monday and felt fine.
"Similar to last year where I had to take some time off because of my back in December and January, I'll use Spring Training to build up muscle and build up the strength that I would normally do in December, and I expect to feel pretty good," Gibson said.
Gibson believes that he contracted the bacterium when he was doing charity work in the Dominican Republic and Haiti with Jake Reed and former teammates Aaron Slegers and Zach Duke. He was diagnosed on Jan. 9 and exhibited the symptoms through Jan. 25-27. Gibson's E. coli strain had the additional Shiga toxin, which meant he was unable to take antibiotics and just had to let the illness run its course.
The right-hander is thankful that his setback occurred after a successful season, with his spot in the rotation secure. Gibson had a career year in 2018, posting career-best marks in strikeouts (179) and ERA (3.62) after he had been twice optioned to the Minor Leagues a season earlier. Entering the spring, he's considered a lock for the Opening Day rotation alongside José Berríos, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda.
"I think if this had been in one of the last two years, I definitely would have had a different feeling," Gibson said. "Thankfully, coming off the year I'm coming off and having Derek [Falvey] and Thad [Levine] with the confidence and saying, 'Hey, can you take it slow? Take it slow,' I'm very thankful for that."
Falvey: "It's dangerous to be too reactive"
With Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor expected to miss seven to nine weeks with a right calf strain, leaving him off an Indians roster that's in flux, Falvey noted that other teams' considerations do play a factor in his decision-making process, but only to a certain extent.
"I would say that for us, it's dangerous to be too reactive," Falvey said. "You have to focus on where you think your team is relative to the group, but we would be naive not to at least take into account looking at what happens in other situations and how that impacts us."
The Twins remained active on the market during last season's Spring Training, as they added three major pieces in Jake Odorizzi, Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn after workouts in Fort Myers, Fla., had begun, but Falvey isn't thrilled by the stagnant free-agent markets in recent offseasons.
"In some ways, I wish it wasn't exactly this way, to be honest with you," Falvey said. "I like when once you get to camp and when you are focused, especially with [new manager] Rocco [Baldelli] and a new staff. You want to be focused on what is going on within the walls as much as you can be."
Astudillo's arrival delayed by visa issues
Though the Twins' first workout for pitchers and catchers is scheduled for Thursday, catcher and utility man Willians Astudillo has been slightly delayed due to visa issues. Falvey expects him to arrive by Sunday or Monday, though he might travel as early as Friday.