BOSTON -- Twins pitching prospect Alex Wimmers underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Thursday, assistant general manager Rob Antony announced. Dr. Dan Buss performed the surgery in Minneapolis.
Wimmers, who was diagnosed with an ulnar collateral ligament strain earlier this season, suffered a setback in his first start in the Gulf Coast League on July 23. He recorded just two outs before complaining of pain in his elbow.
He flew to the Twin Cities earlier this week and had an MRI on his elbow that revealed a torn UCL and the decision was made to have ligament-replacement surgery on Thursday. He's expected to be out approximately 12 months.
"He had an MRI and it revealed that there was a change and that he needed to have it," Antony said of the surgical procedure. "They figured he had to have it, he stayed in town, did what they needed to do on Wednesday and is having it this afternoon."
Wimmers, rated as Minnesota's No. 12 prospect heading into the season according to MLB.com, is the second-best pitching prospect for the Twins to undergo Tommy John surgery in the last year.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson had the same surgery last September, but is on the comeback trail, as he's as he's made seven appearances in the Gulf Coast League. Gibson, ranked as the club's sixth overall prospect according to MLB.com, has a 2.61 ERA with 11 strikeouts and three walks in 10 1/3 innings.
Antony said he saw Gibson pitch in Florida and that he looked better than ever, and indicated he could move up to Class A Fort Myers to continue his rehab soon.
"Since we drafted him, that's as good as I've seen him throw the ball," Antony said. "More velocity than I saw when he was at Rochester and before that, because he was consistently 93-94 [mph], and his slider was 84-86 [mph] with good life."
Mauer gets day off as Butera starts
BOSTON -- Catcher Joe Mauer was held out of the starting lineup for the first time since June 22, as Drew Butera started behind the plate against the Red Sox on Thursday.
Mauer, who served as a pinch-hitter in that game in Cincinnati, started in 35 straight games before getting the day off in Boston.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it was just time to give Mauer a break, especially considering the club is in the midst of 13 straight games without a day off.
"I think he took enough of a beating yesterday," Gardenhire said. "It was 95 degrees and there was a lot of balls in the dirt and running the bases. He was gassed. So, I didn't want to push him. We're playing a lot of games in a row again."
Mauer, 29, had played in 96 of the Twins' 104 games entering Thursday after playing in just 82 games last season due to various injuries.
Plouffe not in Boston, could play in Cleveland
BOSTON -- Third baseman Trevor Plouffe did not make the trip to Boston, as he's continuing to rehab his bruised right thumb.
Plouffe, who is on the disabled list retroactive to July 21, is eligible to return on Sunday. He originally injured his thumb when he was jammed by a pitch against the Royals on July 20.
Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said there's a chance Plouffe could rejoin the Twins on their current road trip that continues with a three-game series in Cleveland starting on Monday.
"He could join the team on this trip if he's ready," Antony said. "He'll continue to work out with Tony Leo back in Minnesota and, yeah, that's a possibility."
Antony added there also remains a chance that Plouffe will go on a rehab assignment, but that the club will make that decision once Plouffe is healthy enough to play.