Twins prospect Kyle Gibson may need Tommy John surgery

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As if Minnesota hasn’t had enough injuries on the big-league roster this season now the Twins’ top prospect, 2009 first-round pick Kyle Gibson, has been shut down with elbow problems and underwent an MRI exam to determine if he needs Tommy John surgery.

Gibson got off to a good start at Triple-A, but then went 0-5 with a 6.47 ERA from June 1 through mid-July before the Twins decided to take him out of Rochester’s rotation.

He’s scheduled to be examined by team doctors early next week and in the meantime Twins minor league director Jim Rantz told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that “you’re always concerned it might be his ulnar nerve” and “there’s enough concern that we’re bringing him to Minnesota.”

Gibson, who fell to the Twins with the 22nd pick coming out of college because of a fracture in his forearm, ranked 61st on Baseball America‘s list of top prospects coming into the season and pitched in the Futures Games during the All-Star break last month. Back in spring training there was talk of Gibson joining the Twins’ rotation in the second half, but now he might be out until 2013.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.