More than 18 months removed from Tommy John surgery, Kyle Gibson has hit a snag in his quest to reach the big leagues. He has struggled mightily with his command on his pitches so far this spring, prompting the Minnesota Twins to option him to the minors.
He had hoped to crack the opening day rotation with the Twins this April, but his lack of command demonstrates that he is not ready to contribute in the big leagues as of now. Other players that were optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday were Caleb Thielbar, Anthony Slama and James Beresford.
The Twins have planned on restricting Gibson to an innings limit this season as a precautionary step for his rehabilitation from surgery. This demotion to the minors may actually be a blessing in disguise for him because he now will have the time and resources necessary to regain his form.
This will also give him the type of competition he needs to face to regain his confidence and establish all of his pitches. Once he feels comfortable enough in the minors and shows that he has found the form that made him one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, it will not take long for him to find his way to the big leagues again.
The Twins are more concerned with his long-term health than how he performs this season. The bottom line is that the team is not expected to contend this season and so health will trump experience at this point. Gibson will have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate and hone his skills at the big league level over the coming years–and possibly yet this season. The team must continue to preach patience with his recovery so he does not suffer any setbacks and is ready for when the team begins to contend again in a few seasons.
While it probably is very frustrating for Gibson to experience this setback, he must approach it as a learning opportunity to better himself. Nobody within the organization has lost faith in the young pitcher and they still are committed to him having a bright future with the team. It may not be the most desirable situation for him, but brighter days are ahead for him and the organization.
Even though the future may seem far away, it will be here before we know it. Now is not the time to jeopardize that future by making a brash decision about the health of one of your top players. I commend the Twins on their handling of the Gibson situation and look forward to the day he debuts at the majors.