Perkins could open season on disabled list

Closer throws successful 'pen session but still good chance of shelf time

February 18th, 2017
Glen Perkins pitched in just two games last season before undergoing labrum surgery. (AP)David Goldman/AP

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins closer continues to make progress in his recovery from labrum surgery, as he threw his second bullpen session of the spring without any issues on Saturday.

Twins manager Paul Molitor watched the 15-pitch session and came away pleased with what he saw, but he cautioned that it's early in the process and there's still a good chance Perkins could open the season on the disabled list.

"He was excited about getting out there today, so that was good," Molitor said. "I don't know if I could give you a percentage on effort, but I'm guessing probably somewhere close to three-quarters. The good news was when he came to [pitchers' fielding practice] after, he still was able to make pitches and throw to bases a little bit, too."

Perkins, who underwent the procedure in late June, threw his first bullpen on Tuesday and will continue to build arm strength after a minor setback with his rotator cuff that saw his initial bullpen pushed back four days.

"He's going to have to help steer the ship here," Molitor said. "He's kind of earned that by what he's done in the game. You just try to guard him against meeting other people's expectations and what we hope might happen. It's a long way back from a fairly major surgery, so we'll kind of just have to see how it goes."

With the complicated procedure that helped reattach the muscle to the bone, Molitor added it's hard to predict how Perkins' shoulder will respond this spring. But the good news is that he's moving in the right direction with his throwing program.

"I think there's been days he's been discouraged and others he's been encouraged, and he's going to have more of both," Molitor said. "That's just probably how it's going to be. You hope he has more good days."


• Saturday was report date for Minnesota's position players, and all 25 arrived to Fort Myers without any problems. Non-roster outfielder was the lone player yet to arrive before he showed up on Saturday. First baseman Joe Mauer also took part in his first informal workouts.

• The Twins will ramp it up on Sunday with their first full-squad workout, which will feature live batting practice between the pitchers and position players.

• Molitor said he's not sold on the idea of bringing up the strike zone, which is something Commissioner Rob Manfred said is being discussed between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. The hope would be to create more action, as last year saw an all-time high in the percentage of plate appearances ending in a strikeout or walk. But Molitor isn't so sure the change would solve any issues related to contact or pace of play.

"I can't say I'd be a big fan," Molitor said. "I don't think a lot of hitters are going to be able to change what they do according to what they think is going to be a strike or not a strike."