Notes: Hill details rehab; Garver gives Maeda 18

February 12th, 2020

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Several groups of Twins pitchers made the rounds around the complex on Wednesday afternoon as they threw bullpen sessions and practiced fielding and pickoff drills as part of the first day of organized workouts for pitchers and catchers at the CenturyLink Sports Complex.

Newly acquired free-agent left-hander won't be able to fully participate in those drills as he recovers from an offseason "primary repair" procedure on the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, but he was excited to begin conditioning with the team and laid out a recovery plan that could include a rehab assignment in May and a return to the field as soon as early June.

The 39-year-old is in his second week of throwing and will slowly stretch out the distances until he progresses to long toss in several weeks. He expects his eventual rehab assignment to last around a month and still thinks he'll debut with the Twins in early June, though the club has been more cautious in its estimates.

"You want to stress it and kind of get it gradually used to that stress," Hill said. "Once you're in that new stress, again, stress with the elbow, you try to stay there for a little bit and then you keep moving forward."

Hill hasn't yet been able to discuss the full details of his recovery plan with manager Rocco Baldelli and isn't sure how long he will be around Twins camp while he recovers. Baldelli said that Hill will likely not spend too much time in Minneapolis once the team breaks camp for the regular season, outside of some opportunities for establishing relationships with his teammates and coaches.

"We want him completely healthy and feeling good," Baldelli said. "That's really all I care about and I think our staff cares about -- getting him back kind of at the level that he's normally used to throwing at. I don’t see any rushing, I don’t see any need for him to be back at a specific date as long as he does come back and is ready to go."

Twins coaches, staff play friendly basketball games
There was, in theory, a lot of athleticism on the court at Alico Arena on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University, but that didn't always translate to the scoreboard in a hotly contested series of games between members of the Twins' coaching staff and front office that featured too many missed layups and airballs on Tuesday night.

Advanced scouting analyst Josh Ruffin (a former Duke athlete) and baseball administration director Kate Townley (a former basketball player) showed off some stronger skills, while general manager Thad Levine -- in glasses and a gray T-shirt -- drew some of the loudest cheers of the evening with a contested layup in the paint. Sources told that Baldelli has the ability to dunk, but the skipper didn't take the opportunity to posterize anybody on his staff -- even on the home court of "Dunk City."

Team travel director Mike Herman sank a trio of three-pointers in one of the early games after having downplayed his athleticism earlier in the day, but Baldelli was quick to publicly downplay the achievement.

"Mike Herman was basket-hanging," Baldelli said. "Oh, yeah, he was basket-hanging. He'd run down to the other end of the court, waving his arms and stuff. Yeah, shocking."

Odds and ends
• Mitch Garver will wear his fourth uniform number in as many seasons in 2020 after he gave up No. 18 to Kenta Maeda, as the newly acquired right-hander has a claim to that jersey written into his contract. Garver will change to No. 8, which was last worn by Zack Granite in '17. Garver also has previously donned Nos. 43 ('17) and 23 ('18).

• The Twins hosted a few representatives of the Korea Baseball Organization's Kia Tigers at camp on Wednesday. Kia is also conducting its own Spring Training in Fort Myers under new manager Matt Williams.