SARASOTA, Fla. — It’s been nearly two years, and Nick Gordon still isn’t sure what to call the issues that have been ailing him. And though Gordon, the Twins’ first-round draft pick in 2014, doesn’t have a name for the gastrointestinal issues that he’s been battling, he thinks he has gotten a better grip on how to handle it.
And because of that, he was on the field Thursday, playing in his first game since last August, going 0-for-2 in the Twins’ 3-3 exhibition game tie against the Baltimore Orioles.
Gordon said his condition was similar to an extreme case of gastritis, an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. A second baseman, he said he weighed 185 to 190 pounds when he was playing every day, but when he got sick in 2018, he dropped down to 160. It’s been a tough ride since then.
“The walls of my stomach were very thin,” he said. “It could have led to a lot of other things, so I’m definitely glad we caught it when we did.”
Gordon has cut soda out of his diet, as well as nearly all fried food. Milks, cereals and ice cream are gone. A lot of the stuff he used to love to eat or drink, he has had to cut down on — or out altogether — but he said he has embraced that because he knows it’s for the greater good.
Still, it hasn’t been easy. Gordon said he was feeling better early this spring but got sick and ended up dropping some weight.
“I was down here and that was the red flag that I’ve really got a grip on this,” Gordon said. “After a week or two weeks, (I) started to take medicine and it kept getting better and better, and I was able to eat a lot more food. And now my body is definitely feeling better, and I’m getting my strength back.”
And as a result, the Twins are now comfortable sending Gordon back onto the field and getting him into games.
“It was awesome. I kind of get nervous, ‘Oh man, I’m back out here,’ but once you get the first ground ball, it’s like, ‘Alright, we’re playing the same game,’ ” he said. “It definitely was fun. I couldn’t wait to get out here.”
Gordon was limited to 70 games last year. He had three separate stints on the injured list, the final two unrelated to his GI issues, though those still ailed him. After Gordon strained his adductor in May, Luis Arraez was promoted to Triple-A to take over at second base. Arraez was quickly summoned to the major leagues days later and took off in the role, passing Gordon on the organization’s depth chart.
When Gordon did play, he performed. Hen hit .298 with a .342 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage, collecting 87 hits in his 70 games.
“When he’s been on the field, he’s been productive. He’s done a good job. He works hard. He’s a good teammate, good citizen. This guy just does everything right when he’s able to get out there,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I think he’s been a little frustrated with not being able to hit the field again this spring. … I want to watch him play. I think everyone wants to watch him play, and I know more than anybody, he wants to be out there, so this is kind of a big day.”
Now, the hope is that he will be able to remain healthy throughout the season — and maybe even get a chance to show what he’s got at the major league level if the situation arises.
“Anything that holds your body back that you feel like you can’t really control, it’s kinda tough,” Gordon said. “But I feel like I’m a positive guy. Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”