Major League Baseball

Minnesota Twins search for answers after games vs. Angels postponed due to COVID-19

April 18

Even as the overall situation around COVID-19 improves, there are still going to be hiccups along the way.

A perfect example of that came Saturday night in Anaheim, California, when it was announced that the Los Angeles Angels’ game against the Minnesota Twins would be postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Minnesota organization. It was later announced that Sunday's game would also be postponed.

FOX Sports MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal was on the scene and reported that at least one Twins player had tested positive. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli later confirmed that outfielder Kyle Garlick was among the positive tests, according to the Star Tribune.

Instead of preparing for the Saturday evening game, which was supposed to be broadcast on FS1, the Twins were working on contact tracing and COVID testing at the field as they tried to determine the extent of the outbreak.

"Rocco Baldelli spoke to us about two hours ago, the manager, and he said that he was working on his third lineup of the day due to the various issues that they were confronting in real time," Rosenthal said. "Now obviously, at that point, he did not know that they were going to be postponed. Now the question is, how extensive is this outbreak … and what is the status of the Twins going forward?"

No makeup dates for the Twins-Angels games have been announced, and the Twins’ series at Oakland that is scheduled to begin Monday is in jeopardy. Monday's game was postponed, but the teams hope to resume the series with a doubleheader Tuesday.

"None of this has gone to plan," Baldelli said. "It can happen. This is the reality that we live in, the unfortunate reality that we live in, but we’re going to go forward. We’re not going to go backward. We’re not going to dwell. We need to know what the next step is, and that way, we can go attack it and do the best that we can."

It has been a difficult three weeks for the Twins. Bench coach Mike Bell died of cancer in late March, leaving the team grieving and without a key staff member. Monday’s game against Boston was postponed due to unrest after a police shooting.

Later in the week, Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons – who opted not to be vaccinated – tested positive.

Adding to the confusion, Baldelli had a false positive Thursday, and he wasn’t even sure he’d be on the trip and managing his team. Another staffer tested positive Friday night.

"They’ve been in a state of disarray for quite some time now," Rosenthal said.

Despite Simmons’ positive test, the Twins do not believe he is the source of their current outbreak, as contact tracing is not showing an overlap in the two instances.

"The Twins are not convinced that what is going on with them is all related back to Simmons," Rosenthal said. "They believe there are some other things that potentially are in play."

The Twins have been proud of their efforts to combat COVID-19. They asked two at-risk coaches – Bob McClure and Bill Evers – to sit out the 2020 season for safety reasons. They dismissed three minor-league coordinators for breaking safety protocols during spring training.

Baldelli said about 80% of the Twins’ traveling party has been vaccinated, most with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 8. Garlick was among those, but it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to fully take effect.

Now the Twins face a challenge as to what to do moving forward. Will they be able to return to the field this week against the Oakland A’s? Will they be able to make up the lost contests against the Angels? Have their measures managed to limit the outbreak?

That’s a lot to be answered, but Baldelli said the main point is to keep his team as safe as possible.

"We don’t want it to continue to snowball," he said. "… I also think that not panicking and creating undue stress on top of all the stress that guys are already feeling is very important.

"Is there an ideal way to handle something like this? Probably not."

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