MINNEAPOLIS -- For the second straight offseason -- and second time in less than a year -- Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco has had surgery to address his bothersome right ankle. Though Polanco played through the pain this season, his nagging ankle injury appeared to have affected his performance.
The Twins announced Monday, Oct. 12, that Polanco underwent a successful surgery performed by Dr. Chris Coetzee to remove a mild bone spur and small bone chip on the outside of his right ankle last week. The team expects Polanco to begin physical therapy in a week and be ready in time for spring training, which is scheduled to begin in February.
Last offseason, Polanco had an arthroscopic debridement on the same ankle to address an impingement which the club called a “chronic injury that occurs due to repetitive stress.”
Upon arriving to spring training in February, Polanco said his ankle had first started bothering him sometime around the July 2019 All-Star break and had progressively bothered him more as the season neared its end. After resting near the beginning of the offseason, it started affecting him again when he resumed training, prompting the first surgery.
Though he said his ankle felt “really good,” near the beginning of Spring Training and the Twins eased him back into spring action, it was clear throughout the season that Polanco, an All-Star in 2019, was not fully right.
“His ankle is sore. It’s something he’s been dealing with for an extended period of time. He’s been playing through a lot of things. It’s tough,” manager Rocco Baldelli said in September. “It’s been a little tough for Polo to play through it at times, but I also compliment him as I normally do. I’ve said this before. When other guys have been hurt and missed time and things like that, Polo just keeps playing.”
Though Polanco appeared in 55 of the Twins’ 60 games, his power numbers took a dive, as did his sprint speed. Polanco, who hit 22 home runs a season before, hit just four in the truncated season. His slugging percentage fell from .485 to .354, and his OPS from .841 to .658.
After the Twins were swept by the Astros in the Wild Card series, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey suggested that surgery could be a potential option for Polanco.
“He would never complain. He went and played every day. But yes, his ankle was definitely something he was playing through. That was pretty clear. He was dealing with some soreness there at times,” Falvey said. “… He battled every day, but he was not playing at full strength for a good chunk of the year.”