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Twins prospect Wimmers to have elbow surgery

Twins pitching prospect Alex Wimmers will undergo Tommy John surgery Thursday.

Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Alex Wimmers will undergo Tommy John surgery Thursday on his right elbow, the team announced Thursday.

Wimmers was Minnesota's first-round pick (21st overall) out of Ohio State in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. Since then, he has appeared in just 19 games in the minors due to numerous injuries. He attempted to rehab a slight tear in his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), but the Twins ultimately decided that Tommy John surgery was the eventual course of action.

Wimmers left his first start of the 2012 season with Double-A New Britain after just 4 1/3 innings. He also made one rehab appearance with the Gulf Coast League Twins but recorded just two outs before an early exit as he was again bothered by his elbow.

Wimmers is the latest Twins pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery. Right-hander Kyle Gibson, the team's 2009 first-round pick, had the surgery last season and is just recently returning to action after missing most of the 2012 season. Gibson began last season at Triple-A Rochester before suffering the injury 18 starts into the season. Right-hander Scott Baker, the Twins' top pitcher in 2011, was shut down for the entire 2012 season after having the surgery in April.

Rehab time for Tommy John surgery can take up to a year, meaning Wimmers will likely not be ready to pitch again until late in the 2013 season.

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