All Systems Go For Former Cy Young Runner-up After Sitting Out 2022

At 35 years old, coming off Tommy John surgery and entering the final year of his contract, this is a very important spring for Minnesota Twins veteran starting pitcher Kenta Maeda.

The good news, according to Twins beat writer Dan Hayes, is that Maeda appears to be all systems go.

"No restrictions. A normal spring training is expected," is what the team is saying about Maeda.

The former Cy Young runner-up (2020), Maeda had "internal brace" Tommy John surgery in late 2021, which usually allows for a quicker return to action. In fact, he had originally planned for a September 2022 return to the mound for the Twins, but that never materialized. 

Since acquiring him in a trade before the 2020 season, Maeda has only pitched 173 innings for the team. But 2020 was an immensely successful debut, as he registered a major league-leading 0.75 WHIP, with a 6-1 record and a 2.70 ERA to finish second in Cy Young balloting. 

His 2021 season didn't go as well, as he posted a 4.66 ERA in 106 innings before being shut down at the end of August with the elbow issue. 

Career-wise, Maeda has a 3.87 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP, and the Twins are counting on him as an important part of their rotation.

Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports