Kenta Maeda hoping to return to Minnesota Twins by September

Aug 14, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (18) prepares to throw during a game with the Tamps Bay Rays at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 14, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (18) prepares to throw during a game with the Tamps Bay Rays at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports /
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If the Minnesota Twins are still contending for the playoffs come September, they may have an unexpected boost to the pitching staff.

Kenta Maeda had undergone Tommy John surgery back in September 2021. With the timing of the procedure, it seemed likely that he would miss the entirety of the upcoming season. Instead, Maeda is aiming to make a comeback in September.

Minnesota Twins could get unexpected boost from Kenta Maeda

If Maeda can return to form, he would be a solid boost to the Twins’ rotation over the final month of the season. Even if he is not a top of the rotation arm, he would still be a major boost for a team that is looking to find upgrades to a pitching staff that is a shell of its former self.

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Maeda was a part of the Twins’ disappointing showing last season. After finishing second in the AL Cy Young award voting in 2020, he posted a 4.66 ERA and a 1.298 WHiP in his 106.1 innings, striking out 113 batters with 32 walks. While his FIP was a far more palatable 4.10, that was still a far cry from his showing the previous season.

It may be fair to wonder how much of an impact Maeda can make if he does return in September. He will likely be restricted as to how many innings he can last each time out, especially as he will not have enough time to build up to a proper workload. In fact, it might not be a surprise to see Maeda utilized as a reliever if he is able to complete that comeback.

A strong showing could also make a difference for the Twins going forward. If they struggle again in 2022, it is possible that Maeda could be on the trade block in the offseason as he would be a free agent after 2023. If he proves to be healthy in September, it could make a difference in regards to any possible return.

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Kenta Maeda is hoping to be back with the Minnesota Twins in September. He may be able to make a difference over that final month of the season.