Will fans get a chance to attend games at Target Field this season?
Twins president Dave St. Peter is saying there's a chance.
“That’s a decision that ultimately will not be up to us — it will be up to Gov. [Tim] Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health,” St. Peter said. “We are in regular conversations. …
“[We’re] on parallel paths developing a plan for no fans but also developing a plan for how and when we reintroduce fans, what that looks like. That protocol will be shared at the appropriate time with the Governor’s Office for their review. I wouldn’t put a timeline on it. I’m not sure it will happen. But it’s something we’re monitoring around the league.”
When the Canterbury Park race track planned its opening last month, it intended to race without fans. But after Walz allowed for gatherings of us to 250 people, the Shakopee track quickly changed plans and has offered a limited number of tickets for its racing cards.
The Twins’ player pool for the return of the baseball season is long on veterans and short on younger prospects.
The team released a 59-player roster Monday that included top prospects Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Jhoan Duran and Trevor Larnach.
But for the most part, the group, in addition to the 40-man roster, included mostly experienced minor leaguers. Players will report to Target Field on Wednesday and start practice Friday or Saturday; at the beginning of the season on July 23, the major league roster will be set at 30, with the remaining “taxi squad” headquartered at CHS Field in St. Paul.
“We felt like our focus had to be on this major league team, making sure that we had the right depth,” Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said.
One spot will be left open in case an addition needs to be made.
Five players who were brought to spring training in February were left off the 60-man roster for the second spring training. They are lefthander Charlie Barnes, righthander Griffin Jax, righthander Jake Reed, catcher Ben Rortvedt and infielder Levi Michael.
Infielder Drew Maggi and outfielders Zander Weil and Lane Adams were not in the first camp but will be part of the second. Adams was a nonroster free-agent signing in mid-February.
Bullpen coach Bob McClure, 68, and major league coach Bill Evers, 66, won’t be on the field this season. They’ll be replaced by bullpen coach Pete Maki and quality control coach Nate Dammann. LaTroy Hawkins will be a special instructor at least through training camp.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said it was difficult to break the news to McClure and Evers that they’d be sidelined because of concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“About as difficult as a call to have to make as you’re ever going to have in the game of baseball,” Baldelli said. “Both Mac and Bill have been in the game for 45-plus years. To get news like this, I couldn’t imagine what that would feel like. Both are going to stay very involved in what we do. That’s a silver lining here, so I think we’re going to hear from both regularly.”
• The Twins haven’t made a decision on whether they will have exhibition games; each team is allowed three. “We are exploring that near the back end of camp,” Falvey said.
• St. Peter said the team will keep full-time employees on through the season with no furloughs.
• All 60 games will be televised, St. Peter said. The MLB schedule could be released Tuesday.
• A nine-man coaching staff, including Class AAA manager Toby Gardenhire, will likely run the taxi squad.