Kenta Maeda (Getty via Kyodo)

Minnesota Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda, who underwent sea­son-ending Tommy John surgery to restore his pitching arm last fall, said Friday he is hopeful he can return during the 2022 season.

“Even if I can return, it will be around September. It’s not a zero percent chance,” Maeda told reporters in Tokyo, hinting at the possibility of a midseason comeback.

The 33-year-old is expected to resume playing catch during spring training in mid-February.

After an incredible 11-start campaign in the abbreviated 2020 season, Maeda took a big step back in 2021 before suffering the injury in August.

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