Taylor Rogers sought opinions from three separate doctors on his left middle finger sprain. All three gave him a different opinion.
Surgery was on the table, as was resting and rehabbing. By the time he had collected those opinions, 10 days had passed. Enough healing had shown up in a second MRI that all three doctors felt comfortable now recommending the rehab route.
The Twins all-star reliever is now in the beginning of that multi-stage rehab process that may or may not have him ready to pitch before season’s end.
“Each day I make sure just to be sure to be slow and cautious with it going forward. I think it’s going to be tight, though. I think it’s going to be tight,” Rogers said about returning before the end of the season.
Rogers suffered the injury two weeks to the day on Monday. Summoned in the ninth inning against Detroit, Rogers threw a slider out of the zone and tweaked the finger.
Hindsight being 20-20, he said he probably should’ve stopped at that point. Instead, he threw another pitch, misfiring another slider and feeling a grabbing sensation immediately.
He is now wearing a black splint to help allow the pulley to heal. He also has a ring, which will be especially important in the next stage of the rehab process, that he wears while moving the finger to keep the pulley next to the bone.
The multi-stage recovery program first starts with taking care of the swelling. Then comes a passive and active movement stage. Once that can be completed pain-free, he will start a strengthening program and after that, he will progress to throwing.
“The timetable is hard to put together because you just have to pass each stage as it comes,” Rogers said. “Sometimes some take longer than others, from what I hear, so that’s the way it goes. I’m still dealing with a little swelling so still in stage one currently.”
Rogers has spoken with Braves pitcher Drew Smyly and Cleveland starter Aaron Civale, both of whom have dealt with similar issues. Civale is currently on the injured list and has been since June 24 with a sprained right middle finger.
Both pitchers mentioned that they had experienced setbacks in the process as a result of trying to go return too quickly, something which Rogers vowed to keep in mind during his own recovery.
In the meantime, Rogers, who very likely could have been traded if not for the injury, is trying to figure out how to keep himself occupied during his first-ever stint on the injured list.
“Mostly it’s just challenging. The hardest part was that we took the longest road trip of the year right after it happened so that was difficult,” Rogers said. “We’ll figure something out. I’m going to need to get good at this.”
Alcala to IL
Jorge Alcala capped off three outings in four days in Houston triumphantly, getting former Twins catcher Jason Castro to strike out looking on the eighth pitch of his at-bat.
But on that final pitch, the 29th pitch of his outing, Alcala felt some tightness in his triceps.
The Twins placed the hard-throwing righty on the injured list on Monday with triceps tendinitis, calling up Edgar García, who was claimed off waivers on July 30, to take his place on the roster.
Alcala had been seeing higher-leverage opportunities of late with Rogers injured and Hansel Robles now in Boston.
“We’re going to have the doctors take a look at that, but even with something that could potentially be minor, he’s still going to be down for a little while,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re not going to push him back to the field any time soon until whatever he’s dealing with has resolved.”
Josh Donaldson (hamstring) was out of the starting lineup on Monday, but the Twins have not placed him on the injured list. … Byron Buxton (hand) participated in on-field batting practice with his teammates. … President of baseball operations Derek Falvey said there was not a particularly high level of concern after the Twins shut down Josh Winder, one of their top pitching prospects, with a shoulder impingement.