MINNEAPOLIS – Glens Perkins sits back in his chair during an interview Saturday at Target Field – in between the responsibilities of a popular Minnesota-raised player – and he sounds at peace. He says he’s content knowing he’s given his all to his rehab, and whatever is going to happen next is going to happen.
That’s a very level-headed and zen approach to someone whose playing career might hang in the balance.
Perkins is working his way back from an extensive shoulder surgery, one which required surgeons to reattach his labrum to the bone. Notably, there aren’t many players who have made it back from a surgery like that and proceeded to have a prolific, lengthy career after the operation.
“It’s gone well so far, I’ve been able to check every box as rehab’s gone along,” Perkins said.
It’s been about a year and a half since the Twins’ closer has pitched at the height of his powers. He missed basically all of last season with the shoulder injury that he tried to rehab and would eventually require surgery. The season before that, he sprinted out to a perfect 28-for-28 converting save chances, and was on his way to his third consecutive all-star game. After the all-star game, he had a really rough second half hampered by injuries and ineffectiveness. That’s part of the gig, Perkins said.
“When you throw baseballs 96, 97 miles an hour for three or four years, guys don’t come out on the other end of that healthy,” Perkins said. “So [if] it was meant to be, that’s just what was meant to happen. I’ve done everything I can to rehab this and hopefully that means that I’ll have success this year and be healthy. There’s no guarantee of that but whatever happens, I’m fine with, I know that I’ve given it everything I have so far.”
He was calm during an extended interview, and it’s become his reality.
Perkins said his rehab is right on schedule, but that probably means he’s about three weeks behind where he might be in a non-surgery year. He’s been in Fort Myers since early January, he said, and he’s now throwing balls 120 feet at what he estimated to be about 75 percent effort.
After TwinsFest, he’ll head south again for more rehab, workouts, and some afternoon fishing when time allows. He figures he’ll climb up on a mound in the next week or so, and probably throw four bullpen sessions before spring training.
February 23 marks the eight-month mark after his surgery, and that’s when he said his rehab is scheduled to finish.
His goals are modest.
“I want to play. This year my goal isn’t to make an All-Star team or have a zero ERA–I just want to be healthy,” he said. “To be able to throw and not have my back hurt, not have my shoulder hurt.”
“When it’s my chance to pitch, I don’t want to have to tell Mollie [manager Paul Molitor], ‘I’ve gotta take today off,’” Perkins said. “And that’s all I’m really hoping for. With what I’ve gone through, I think that’s a realistic goal for me.”