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Updated: March 30th, 2012 9:40am
Elbow discomfort ends Kyle Waldrop's bid to break camp with Twins

Elbow discomfort ends Kyle Waldrop's bid to break camp with Twins

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-handed reliever Kyle Waldrop felt more discomfort on the inner part of his right elbow while throwing from 60 feet on Thursday. As a result, the Minnesota Twins elected to temporarily shut him down.

Waldrop initially felt the discomfort while warming up for his last outing in Tampa on March 23. He said he had been sore a few days before, "but it didn't feel like anything out of the ordinary. We always have dings and stuff, especially coming toward the end of spring training."

The day after his outing, Waldrop experienced inflammation and trainers told him it was best to just "be smart."

Unfortunately for Waldrop, he had done enough this spring -- and over his last two years in the minor leagues -- to earn a spot on the 25-man roster heading into the season opener.

"It's disappointing," Waldrop said. "It really is. I worked hard in the offseason, came in here and just did what I could. I went out in games and just tried to attack hitters and throw the ball over the plate. I felt like I had thrown fairly well so far. So yeah, it's disappointing. ...

"But it's baseball. Injuries happen. I just have to take care of it right now and move forward. It's a long season. It's not like this is something that's going to require surgery, so I'm just going to kind of deal with it and get better, get healthy. Whenever I'm ready to go just try to contribute at some point."

Only three major league bullpens induced fewer groundballs than the Twins (41%) did in 2011. Waldrop's 63% groundball rate in Triple-A over the past two seasons was expected to help kill a few more worms and induce a few more double plays.

"We were kind of up against a wall as it was, timeframe, getting ready for the season," Waldrop said. "So it was going to be kind of a push to get game-ready when it happened. So just take some more time off, let it rest, kind of let it all fully heal and start my throwing program back up, whenever that is. ...

"It's a little setback, but I'm not going to keep my head down. This is something that I'll come back from and get healthy, and I'll be alright."

Right-handers Matt Capps and Anthony Swarzak, and lefties Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing and Matt Maloney are considered locks in the bullpen at this point. Right-hander Jared Burton is close to being a lock.

If the Twins keep seven relievers, the final slot likely comes down to Jeff Gray or Alex Burnett.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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