Joe Ryan Ready to Go, But Rocco Says No

PHOTO: CRAIG LASSIG – ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Minnesota Twins are welcoming the New York Yankees to Target Field for the next three days. Historically, the Bronx Bombers being in town has almost always been bad for the Twins’ win/loss record. On paper, the 2022 rendition doesn’t look any better.

Sure, the Twins are leading the American League Central and have a record of 32-24. But the Yankees hold the best record in baseball (39-15). They’ve scored 102 more runs than their opponents so far this season. The next highest run differential in the AL is the Houston Astros at +45.

Yankees Rising, Twins Floating

That’s what happens when your team has 6 starting pitchers with an ERA of 3.02 or less and your batting lineup ranks 3rd in the MLB in OPS, 1st in home runs and 6th in runs scored. The Twins, on the other hand, are just trying to tread water during the toughest stretch of their young season, while they wait for their best players to return from injury or virus related absences.

But are there certain Twins players who should be back already? The answer to that question depends on who you ask. RHP Cole Sands will start for Minnesota on Tuesday night, in part because Joe Ryan isn’t back from his COVID IL stint. According to Rocco Baldelli, he could need a rehab stint before returning to the Twins starting rotation.

Where is Joe Ryan?

If you ask Joe Ryan, however, the answer will be different. Darren Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North) has been digging around and in contact with Ryan’s camp the last couple days. And according to what Doogie told SKOR North today, Ryan doesn’t believe he needs a rehab stint at all. Joe’s ready right now and wants to be on the mound pitching vs the Yankees this week. Ryan’s 2.28 ERA and .992 WHIP certainly look better than Sands’ 7.88 ERA and 1.625 WHIP.

“Well [Joe Ryan] has been throwing at Target Field. He’s been in town. I’m told he feels fine. He’s out of that COVID bubble. He’s fine. To me, Judd, I’d love to see him tonight against the Yankees at Target Field. But signs point to it being Cole Sands. That it won’t be Joe Ryan. That the Twins have legitimately talked about Joe Ryan going on some sort of quick rehab assignment.”

“I don’t think he needs a rehab assignment. Those close to him, I sense, don’t think he needs a rehab assignment. Get Joe Ryan back in the Twins rotation this week. Whether it’s this series vs New York or this weekend series vs Tampa. Joe Ryan should be starting this week at Target Field, not wherever the St. Paul Saints are. Joe Ryan should be starting for the Twins. He is ready to go.”

Darren Wolfson – SKOR North

New World Order

I understand not wanting to put one of your players in a bad spot, where he could re-injure himself coming back from injury too quickly. Sometimes, you have to protect your players from themselves. But Joe Ryan isn’t coming back from injury.

He’s coming back from a run-in with a respiratory virus that has little evidence of affecting a healthy human in his mid-twenties. I’m old enough to remember when we lauded athletes, pre-2019, for battling through respiratory viruses and performing their athletic duties admirably, while under the weather.

Now, in 2022, we won’t even let Joe Ryan take the mound AFTER he has recovered from a virus and tested out of all protocols. There are no rules or regulations stopping Joe Ryan from getting back on the mound. Just an over-cautious coach and front office navigating through a world that has given up on the meaning of science, among many other things.

So now, this is what the Minnesota Twins will run out vs the best pitching staff in the Major Leagues. Good luck. They’ll need it.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan