With a starting five that’s fronted by Kevin Correia and Vance Worley, the Minnesota Twins rotation is an unassuming bunch that’s not without its share of question marks headed into Spring Training.
Now, they may be facing their biggest question yet, as Scott Diamond‘s status to open the season with the team is in jeopardy.
The soft-tossing lefty, who dramatically improved his control last season on his way to become the Twins’ most valuable pitcher, is recovering from minor surgery to remove a bone chip on his elbow in the off-season. The process has been slow, and whether he’ll be ready to start on Opening Day is “tough to say right now, because of the way the arm feels, as Diamond says.
If he is ready to go, there was a good chance that the sophomore would have been named the team’s Opening Day starter. Diamond was the only Twins pitcher to throw a complete game in 2012, and the 26-year old’s 2.6 fWAR rookie season arguably still makes him the staff ace by default, even with the additions of Correia and Worley.
Should Diamond not be available by then, the Twins will have the unfortunate task of having to make a choice for an Opening Day starter from a group that otherwise did not distinguish themselves very much.
Yes, Correia is coming off a two-year, $10 million contract, but he’s a pedestrian starter even at the best of times , and going with him on opening day probably won’t set the best tone for the rest of the season.
The better choice would be Worley, the former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher who showed good strikeout upside (8.13 K/9) in his 3.01 ERA, 2.4 fWAR rookie season. But he too, is coming off an injury-plagued 2011 season that saw him miss 55 games over two DL stints with inflammation in his pitching elbow, a problem that eventually needed season-ending surgery to fix.
So, by no means is the 25-year old necessarily a sure thing either.
All of this is to say that the Twins are in a bit of a bind as far as how they want to present this new-look rotation, and that there’s no clear-cut choice to start Opening Day might suggest a lack of quality in the known quantities that they have to work with in 2013.
The difficult fact is that even in ideal-world scenarios, this is not a group of starting pitchers that features a whole lot of upside. While they wait for Kyle Gibson to reach the big leagues and generate some buzz, the Twins are going to try to alleviate that issue take a workman-like approach to patching together innings in 2013.
If Diamond is unable to go for much further than Opening Day, the Twins will have the unenviable task of going ahead with one of their primary workers.