Twins’ Tyler Mahle to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery

Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins pitcher Tyler Mahle will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery after an MRI showed issues with the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

He said the elbow reconstruction surgery will be done in the next two weeks. He plans to do rehab back home in Orange, California.

The 28-year-old Mahle, was pulled from his start on April 27 after showing diminished velocity. He expressed optimism after the game and said he didn’t expect to miss time, but he was later diagnosed with a posterior impingement and flexor pronator strain before more testing.

Mahle has a one-year, $7.5 million contract with Minnesota and will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

“It was an easy decision just because it was so obvious after the second opinion,” Mahle said Thursday. “It was so obvious what I should do for, you know, my longevity and my future and just health. I wasn’t going to be able to come back this year and pitch effectively.”

Mahle, who is on the 60-day injured list, said he could have rehabbed and come back this season, but was told by doctors the same issues would occur again. Mahle said he was surprised by the final diagnosis because he didn’t feel the usual symptoms related to needing Tommy John surgery. He said he felt a pinch on full extension, one reason for the diminished velocity.

Injuries have been a constant for the right-hander since the Twins sent three prospects to the Cincinnati Reds to acquire Mahle at the trade deadline last year. He was shut down twice last season with ongoing shoulder issues. He made nine total starts for Minnesota, pulled early three times due to injury.

“These are difficult conversations and I feel for Tyler more than anything,” Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. “You go through this, you plan, you rehab, you get your shoulder right where it needs to be, you’re in a good spot. And then something else pops up and it’s obviously impactful to his career. We’re fully supportive of this decision for him and want to help him in the next phase of what comes next.”

Mahle, the seven-year veteran, is 33-41 with a 4.30 ERA in 123 career games. He was 1-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings over five starts this season.

The Twins have traded aggressively to try to upgrade their starting pitching over the last two years, with mixed results.

Mahle cost them third basemen Spencer Steer, who’s playing regularly for the Reds, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who’s the sixth-ranked prospect by MLB in Cincinnati’s farm system and batting .364 with seven homers after his first 15 games for Triple-A Louisville.

Chris Paddack, who came in a trade last year with San Diego for closer Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker, made five starts in 2022 before being shut down with an elbow injury and needing Tommy John surgery. He’s not expected back until late this season.

Sonny Gray and Pablo López have yielded sterling results for the Twins, but they came with a steep price too. Gray was acquired before last season from Cincinnati for 2021 first-round draft pick Chase Petty. López came from Miami for 2022 American League batting champion Luis Arraez.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.