Injuries & Moves: Varland brought up as 27th man for doubleheader

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June 16: RHP recalled from Triple-A St. Paul as 27th man in doubleheader
The Twins brought up Varland to pitch out of the bullpen as part of their split doubleheader against the A's on Sunday, but that's not indicative of how they currently view his roster fit, and manager Rocco Baldelli said he's not necessarily looking to deploy Varland as a true short-outing reliever like the Twins did successfully last September and October. Varland will instead be available for bulk innings if and when needed, and he will remain part of the Twins' primary starting-pitching depth in Triple-A alongside top prospect David Festa.

"We have a lot of baseball to play, and our starters could go out there and make two great starts and we don't have that many innings to cover," Baldelli said. "But if our starters go somewhat normal five-inning type starts, we're going to have some innings to cover."

June 13: 1B/OF optioned to Triple-A St. Paul; UTIL recalled from Triple-A
While Kirilloff has dealt with an outsized share of health struggles since he made his MLB debut during the 2020 postseason, the Twins haven't seen him struggle to this extent when healthy, which has made it all the more confusing to them that he's slashing .201/.270/.384 in 57 games this season, including a .135 average and .491 OPS since May 3.

The Twins opted for a move on Wednesday, when they optioned Kirilloff to Triple-A St. Paul before they later recalled Martin on Thursday. Martin saw a 30-game stint in the Majors earlier this season and has posted an almost laughably good .466 on-base percentage in 19 Triple-A games, including 21 walks and only seven strikeouts.

"I've felt good for a while," Martin said. "Even last season, even though it was shorter for me, I thought I ended on a high note and I just tried to carry that over. But at the end of the day, it was more so just getting down there and getting some reps and seeing a little bit more consistency. That was pretty much it."

10-DAY/15-DAY INJURED LIST

RHP (right shoulder tendinitis)
Expected return: TBD
Stewart threw five pitches off a mound on June 12, his first time throwing off a mound since his injury. He had thrown from 90 feet on June 11, at which point he didn't have a more substantial update -- but he has noted that he doesn't ask the Twins too many questions about his recovery due to how it impacted him when he had been looking too far ahead as part of his prolonged recovery last summer from another arm injury.

He received a platelet-rich plasma injection on May 13 after feeling a pinch in his shoulder, which he began to experience during his April 25 outing against the White Sox. He was moved to the IL on May 3, retroactive to May 2. (Last updated: June 12)

OF (right thumb sprain, No. 3 on Twins Top Prospects list)
Expected return:
TBD
Rodriguez was in his first game back from a hand injury that had kept him out of action for a week when he appeared to sprain his thumb on a slide into second base on a double to left-center field as part of a 2-for-2 return to the lineup on June 5. He was placed on the Minor League 7-day IL with the injury on June 7. (Last updated: June 7)

OF (lower back strain, No. 4 on Twins Top Prospects list)
Expected return:
TBD
Gonzalez hasn't played for High-A Cedar Rapids since May 1 due to the lower back strain that ultimately sent him to the Minor League IL on May 8. The most significant piece of the return in the offseason Jorge Polanco trade with Seattle, Gonzalez "does not appear too close to returning," as reported by The Gazette in Cedar Rapids on May 15. (Last updated: May 15)

60-DAY INJURED LIST

RHP (left patellar tendinitis)
Expected return:
TBD
Another MRI exam of Topa's left knee revealed a 25 percent torn left patellar tendon after soreness flared up during his fourth rehab outing with Triple-A St. Paul on May 5. He said he'd felt as good as he had in a long time during his May 3 outing, but did not see that continue with another appearance.

As of May 14, he was a week into a two-week immobilization of the knee -- stabilized in a brace -- and on crutches, after which he won't be throwing for six weeks, leading to his movement to the 60-day IL on May 28. After a second opinion from a doctor, Topa received a platelet-rich plasma injection in the knee, with the hope it'll allow him to avoid surgery.

"The injection was the best option to get back as fast as possible," Topa said. "That's been my goal from day one, is to get this done and over with and pitch this year and make an impact this year. Unfortunately, there's a sense of a waste of six weeks after the first go-round. This time we're on the right track."

Topa began the season on the IL due to soreness and inflammation related to left knee tendinitis that had lingered throughout 2023. It flared up during Spring Training. (Last updated: May 28)

RHP (right teres major strain)
Expected return:
TBD
Weiss will progress to throwing up to 105 feet but is still a few weeks away from going through a mound progression, said head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta.

Weiss was moved to the 60-day IL on April 9. He suffered a strain to the teres major in the right rotator cuff in late February and did not appear in any Spring Training games. (Last updated: May 21)

RHP (right elbow strain)
Expected return: Not this season
Duarte will undergo right elbow surgery on May 8, performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas. He had Tommy John surgery on his right arm 10 years ago. This surgery will either be a total replacement of the graft in his elbow or the installation of a brace to support the current structure.

According to head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta, Meister said he wouldn’t know which until he began the procedure. Either way, Duarte is facing a long recovery. He was transferred to the 60-day IL on April 22. (Last updated: April 22)

RHP (right elbow strain)
Expected return:
Not this season
DeSclafani underwent season-ending flexor tendon repair surgery with Dr. Keith Meister on March 29. He attempted two ramp-ups in Spring Training but had both halted by elbow soreness, at which point he and the Twins sought a consultation with Meister.

There was no UCL involvement, meaning DeSclafani did not need Tommy John surgery, but the flexor tendon surgery also involves a 13-month recovery timeline. (Last updated: March 30)