When news surfaced recently that Boof Bonser had been having trouble throwing during the offseason and received a cortisone shot in his shoulder to alleviate some soreness, I feared the worse in spite of reports that previous MRI exams had revealed no structural damage. Perhaps it’s because I’m a worrywart, or perhaps it’s because I’ve become jaded after many years of following sports and learning that seemingly every minor injury eventually transforms into something more significant. Sure enough, it was revealed yesterday that Bonser will undergo exploratory surgery today “to get to the bottom of why he’s having shoulder problems.”
Now, this is a potentially minor operation and if the surgeon ultimately discovers that the problem is not serious, Bonser can still be a factor for the Twins this season. However, it does seem almost certain at this point that he will at least open the season on the disabled list (which, as I mentioned last week, isn’t necessarily a bad thing), and if the Bonser’s issues are significant he could be on the shelf for most or all of the season.
A season-ending injury would be a tough blow for Bonser-backers (a collection I’d group myself in). With his 96-mph heat and nasty curveball, the hefty right-hander seemingly had a decent chance of helping revive the Twins’ battered bullpen if he could harness his stuff. Now, at the very least he’ll have a rocky road as he tries to capture a significant role in the ‘pen during the season while recovering from shoulder surgery. At worst, his time with the Twins might be done.
It’s possible that Bonser’s absence will put some added urgency into the team’s reported pursuit of Juan Cruz, but I remain skeptical about the likelihood of such a move taking place. Cruz would be a tremendous addition for the Twins, but working out a contract with him and his agent while also hammering out a compensation agreement with the Diamondbacks would be a tall order. While the Twins may step up their efforts to acquire Cruz, I think it’s equally likely that they take advantage of their newfound roster flexibility and carry both Philip Humber and Jose Mijares north in April while stashing Bonser on the DL.
I’m truly hoping that when the results of Bonser’s exploratory surgery are announced, the news is good. But given the history of these types of situations, I’m not terribly optimistic.