Garver 'being smart,' slow with groin rehab

July 5th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- When began ramping up more rigorously into baseball activity a week ago, he laid out an optimistic timeline for a quick return to play -- one that might have involved him playing in rehab games by now.

Instead, the Twins are targeting a return for their catcher sometime after the All-Star break. It's not that he's hit any setback in his progression; rather, all parties involved have simply agreed that there's a greater need for caution before his return -- and understandably so, considering the trauma his groin region has undergone since he was hit in the area by a foul ball and needed emergency surgery on June 1.

"I mean, it’s so hard to tell how quick things are going to go, and obviously, with this injury, it’s a little bit different than a sprained ankle or something," Garver said. "This is something that lasts forever. This is like a concussion or something that can affect the rest of your life, so we chose to take it a little bit slower than normal."

Garver has still been ramping up as planned. He noted that he recently did full sprints at 30 yards and continues to advance his mobility, while he has been hitting and throwing with no restrictions. Next will come catching -- likely off a machine, to start -- before he possibly ramps up to receiving bullpen sessions by the end of the week.

If there was any way for Garver to ensure that he wouldn't take another foul off his cup, he said he'd have no hesitation to get behind the plate right now. But he and the Twins need to get to a point where there won't be as much risk of something severe happening again in a similar situation -- and they're still getting there.

"I want to make sure with the doctors that if I do get hit again, there’s no chance of serious injury, right?" Garver said. "You don’t want to lose something that could affect you."

"What he’s dealt with has the potential to be a very serious issue if not handled properly," manager Rocco Baldelli said.

It surely hasn't been easy for the fiery and competitive Garver to sit out such a pivotal stretch of the year, during which the Twins have gone from hoping they could turn their season around to almost certain sellers at the upcoming July 30 Trade Deadline. But he understands the gravity of the issue at hand -- and the need for patience.

"It's easy to think of short term, 'There's still 80 or 90 games left in the season, I can still make an impact with the team. I can do all these things to push my career forward,'" Garver said. "But you don't know how long you really have to play. Being smart about it, taking it a day at a time, making sure you're ready."

Twins up Target Field to 100% capacity
Welcome (all the way) back, Twins fans.

Target Field opened to 100% capacity for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for Monday night's series opener against the White Sox -- and the Twins brought fans back with open arms, offering every ticketed fan in the ballpark all-you-can-eat hot dogs, chips, peanuts, nachos, Nut Roll candy bars and bottled water.

"It’s something that I think everybody in baseball within the game has been waiting for very patiently," Baldelli said. "But having the ability to pack a stadium right now and to feel what that is like, I think will be great -- at home, where it means something, in front of the people that love the Twins. And I think that’s what it’s all about."

Governor Tim Walz announced last Thursday that the state of Minnesota had reached President Joe Biden's goal of having 70% of the population vaccinated by July 4.

• Nelson Cruz has been dealing with a "really bad chest cold" for weeks, Baldelli said, and hasn't been able to stop coughing. Cruz wasn't in Minnesota's starting lineup on Monday, for a second straight game, as he went to a doctor for examination and to receive X-rays.

• Matt Shoemaker cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A St. Paul on Monday. He had been designated for assignment last Thursday.