As one Twins infielder nears end of rehab assignment, another nears start

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CLEVELAND — The Twins are just days away from getting one infielder back and a couple of weeks away from having another potentially return.

After spending a week rehabbing with the Triple-A Saints, infielder Kyle Farmer will return to the Twins in the coming days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. While Farmer is on the verge of concluding his rehab assignment, top prospect Royce Lewis is just about to start one.

Lewis, who had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament last year, has been rehabbing his knee in Fort Myers, Fla. Starting Thursday, he’ll be out on an official assignment, starting first at Double-A. From there, he’s expected to progress to Triple-A St. Paul.

A rehabbing position player is allowed 20 days before returning, and Lewis, whom the Twins transferred to the 60-day injured list before the season, is not eligible to return until May 29 at the very earliest — coincidentally, one year from the day he tore his ACL crashing into the outfield wall to make a catch.

The Twins won’t be putting Lewis out into the outfield again anytime soon — for now, the expectation is that he will focus on playing shortstop and third base.

While his return could be a jolt down the road, Farmer’s will provide the Twins a boost soon. A Tuesday return would mark about three and a half weeks from the time when he was hit in the face with a Lucas Giolito fastball, busting up his lower lip and teeth.

Farmer has been feeling physically good for some time now, but getting back into the batter’s box at St. Paul represented a mental hurdle. The infielder still has a procedure to undergo on Monday to remove some wiring from his lower teeth, and how he comes out of that will determine when exactly he returns.

“There’s a chance he’s perfectly fine and there’s a chance he’s pretty sore, I think, too, getting that hardware taken out,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’ll see if he’s good to go or if he’s going to get that out and maybe play another (rehab) game. But I think he’s really close, and I think that’s probably the main point of it.”

Reliever updates

Relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar, who landed on the injured list with what the Twins are calling a moderate right oblique strain, will not throw this week, the Twins said. He’ll be re-evaluated again next weekend.

Ronny Henriquez, meanwhile, will have his rehab assignment transferred from Fort Myers and will join the Saints. Henriquez, who had elbow inflammation crop up this spring, will likely join a mix of pitchers available to give the Twins some length out of the bullpen once healthy.

Briefly

The Twins will send Louie Varland, Pablo López and Bailey Ober to the mound this week in a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Target Field. … The series will mark the return of former Twins star designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who signed a one-year deal with the Padres this offseason.

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