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The Minnesota Twins, who just clinched the AL Central, activated veteran right-hander Chris Paddack from the injured list on Sunday, clearing the way for him to make his first big-league appearance since he underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2022. In corresponding moves, the Twins optioned righty Josh Winder to Triple-A St. Paul and transferred lefty Jovani Moran to the 60-day injured list. (Moran has been sidelined for several weeks with a strained forearm.)

Paddack, 27, has not pitched from a big-league mound since May 8, 2022 after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. He made three minor-league rehab appearances in recent weeks, amassing a 3.72 ERA and a 5.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his most recent outing, hosted at the Triple-A level, he struck out five batters over three innings of work. His fastball averaged 97 mph and he generated six whiffs on 10 changeups.

Here's a look at Paddack's outing in all its moving picture glory:

For the remainder of this year, Paddack is expected to pitch in relief for the Twins. It stands to reason that he could be a useful part of their postseason bullpen. Minnesota's relief corps ranks 15th in the majors in ERA, making it one of the worst among potential playoff squads. At minimum, Paddack should be able to provide length in case that becomes necessary. 

Paddack, signed through the 2025 campaign, will presumably return to the Twins rotation next season. In 66 career big-league appearances, all but one of them a start, he's compiled a 4.20 ERA (97 ERA+) and a 4.93 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Twins originally acquired Paddack from the San Diego Padres in April 2022. That deal also included relievers Emilio Pagán and Taylor Rogers, outfielder/first baseman Brent Rooker, and minor-league starter Brayan Medina.