The Twins placed second baseman Jorg Polanco on the 10-day injured list as Polanco struggles with lower back strains. The placement is retroactive to June 13. Former Top Prospect Alex Kirilloff was called up by Triple-A to take Polanco’s place in the active squad.
Polanco has missed Minnesota’s last three games despite being a manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters (including MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park) that a recent MRI showed nothing unusual about Polanco’s back pain. Baldelli said Polanco has dealt with back problems “on and off” for the past two seasons, though this marks the first time the problem has actually forced the infielder onto the injured list. In fact, Park notes that this is the first IL finish of Polanco’s nine-year MLB career and only his second trip to the injured list in 13 pro seasons.
While this doesn’t look like a long-term absence for Polanco, the twins will miss his solid slugger in the lineup. Polanco’s power numbers are down from his career high of 33 homers in 2021, but he’s still making an above-average (114 wRC+) offensive contribution this year, hitting .245/.340/.389 over 250 plate appearances.
Luis Arraez played at second base in Polanco’s absence, giving more playing time for Jose Miranda at first base. Kirilloff is also trying to get into the first base and outfield mix to finally establish himself in the majors. After hitting .251/.299/.423 with eight home runs over 231 PA in his 2021 rookie season, Kirilloff’s first year on the show was cut short by wrist surgery last July.
Inflammation in the same wrist sent Kirilloff back to the IL earlier this season, and with just .398 OPS for his first 32 PA of the 2022 season, the Twins voted Kirilloff to Triple-A to get him back on track. Judging by his .359/.465/.641 slash over 157 PA for Triple-A St. Paul this year, Kirilloff is healthy, locked in and ready to fulfill his touted potential. Minnesota drafted Kirilloff with the 15th overall pick of the 2016 draft, and he was a regular in top prospect rankings during his time in the minor leagues.