The Twins had a miserable season in 2011 and many blame the Twins slide into the AL central basement on the number of injuries that the Twins endured. But looking at the numbers, injuries alone do not explain the Twins dismal play. The Twins came out of spring training in excellent health but it didn’t take long before players started dropping. It was like a contagious disease all season long, one injury after another. How do you explain it? No one can I think, just a matter of bad luck, sometimes, maybe it was brought on by not knowing how to play your position properly as in the case of Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Later in the season, after the Twins were beaten down and out of the race it seemed like some players just gave up and found it easier to sit on the bench than to get out on the field. The Joe Mauer mystery still remains unanswered. It appears to me that the Twins have several players that do not want to go to the gate unless they are feeling 100%, hell, no one feels 100% everyday. In the real world there are people going to work day in and day out regardless of how they feel for a whole slew of reasons. These players need to understand that they are letting their teammates, fans, and themselves down when they let a minor injury keep them from taking the field. I felt bad for Gardy because he had to make excuses for these malingerers. I wonder what it will take to get some of these guys to “suck it up” and play some baseball? But you think the 2011 Twins had injury problems, check out some of these sad but apparently true injuries that occurred to the boys of summer in a piece that was published back in September of 1992. You may find some former Twins on the list.
So what is the MLB DL and how does it work? In simple terms it works like this. A player may be placed on either the 15-day or the 60-day disabled list, usually depending on the severity or the expected recovery time of the injury. A player may be shifted from the 15-day to the 60-day DL at any time, but not vice-versa. The player may not rejoin the team until 15 or 60 days has elapsed; however, a player’s time on the DL may exceed the specified number of days. Something the Twins know very well. In addition, if a player is sent to the 60-day DL after August 1, he may not return to the active roster for the rest of that season.
The 15-day DL does not count the player on the active roster (comprising the 25-man roster until September 1), whereas the 60-day DL does not require the player to be counted on either the team’s active roster or its 40-man roster; however, a team’s 40-man roster must be full in order for the option of a placement on the 60-day disabled list to be available.
In 2011 MLB instituted a change to the DL policy where as a new 7 day DL was put in place specifically for concussions and brain damage. MLB also put in place a paternity leave policy this season where a team can replace a player who is an expectant father on the roster for 1-3 days in order for them to attend the birth of their child.
Until the late 1980s, there were 10-day and 21-day disabled lists. The number of players who could be placed on each list was limited, and there was much less flexibility about when they could return to action. Back then, players with major league contracts were not allowed to go to the minor leagues for rehabilitation.
But getting back to the Twins situation, I took a look at the Twins injuries for the last 10 seasons 2002-2011 and here is what I found.
|Year||Record||Finish||DL Moves||DL Days||Out for the season|
|2005||83-79||3rd||11||578||Kubel (OF), Balfour (P)|
|2007||79-83||3rd||15||995*||Liriano (P), Machado (P)|
|2009||87-76||1st||12||551||Bonser (P), Neshek (P)|
|2010||94-68||1st||18||760||Condrey (P), Nathan (P)|
* = In addition to Liriano and Machado being out for the season, Perkins, Crain, White, and Rabe all spent 95 or more days on the DL
The table above seems to indicate that the Twins usually average between 10-15 DL moves in a season but the last two seasons have seen a jump in the number of DL moves to 18 and 27 respectively.
From a trainers perspective, like the rest of the Twins organization, changes are few and far between. Up until 2011, the Twins had a head trainer, an assistant trainer and a strength and conditioning coach but in 2011 they added a second assistant trainer.2002 – Jim Kahmann (HT), Rick Mcwane (AT), Randy Popple (SCC) 2003 – Jim Kahmann (HT), Rick Mcwane (AT), Randy Popple (SCC) 2004 – Jim Kahmann (HT), Rick Mcwane (AT), Randy Popple (SCC) 2005 - Rick Mcwane (HT), Dave Pruemer (AT), Randy Popple (SCC) 2006 - Rick Mcwane (HT), Dave Pruemer (AT), Randy Popple (SCC) 2007 - Rick Mcwane (HT), Dave Pruemer (AT), Perry Castellano (SCC) 2008 - Rick Mcwane (HT), Dave Pruemer (AT), Perry Castellano (SCC) 2009 - Rick Mcwane (HT), Dave Pruemer (AT), Perry Castellano (SCC) 2010 - Rick Mcwane (HT), Dave Pruemer (AT), Perry Castellano (SCC) 2011 - Rick Mcwane (HT), Dave Pruemer (AT), Tony Leo (AT), Perry Castellano (SCC)
Popple and Castellano each have served as strength and conditioning coach for 5 years. When Popple was the SCC, the Twins averaged 541 DL days per season, during the last 5 years under Castellano, the Twins have averaged 716 DL days. coincidence? Maybe. Of course you can’t compare apples to apples here because the players change but still, 175 DL days difference.
We all have an opinion on what Twins we think are always hurt and always on the DL but the table below will show you over the last 10 years who has been on the DL most frequently. The table covers the years of 2002 through 2011 and players that have two or fewer DL trips are not listed.
|Player||DL appearances||Season with the Twins|