Twins reliever Jorge Alcalá has undergone arthroscopic debridement surgery on his throwing elbow, the club announced (relayed by Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune). He’s done for the season, but the Twins anticipate he’ll be ready for Spring Training next year.
Aclalá made just two appearances in 2022, with elbow issues virtually wiping out the year. He first landed on the injured list five days into the season with elbow inflammation, then experienced a setback in June. The issues have deprived the Twins of one of their better relief arms, a pitcher who worked his way into higher-leverage work down the stretch last season. Alcalá tossed a career-high 59 2/3 innings in 2021, posting a 3.92 ERA with an above-average 26.6% strikeout rate and a tiny 5.7% walk percentage.
Had the 27-year-old been healthy and able to replicate that kind of production this season, perhaps the Twins would have a bit more than a one-game cushion over the Guardians in the AL Central. Minnesota’s bullpen has blown 19 leads, fourth-most in the majors. Aside from star rookie Jhoan Durán and converted starter Griffin Jax, the group has struggled. That led to a pair of deadline pickups to fortify the back end, with Minnesota landing All-Star closer Jorge López from the Orioles and veteran righty Michael Fulmer from the division-rival Tigers.
Alcalá entered the season with more than two years of major league service time. He’ll collect a full year for his time on the IL, meaning he’ll surpass the three-year threshold and be eligible for arbitration for the first time next winter. Alcalá is controllable through the end of the 2025 campaign.