Nick Gordon had a nice evening planned Thursday. Cook a shepherd's pie dinner for his mother and sister, relax in his Twin Cities apartment, get ready for another day of training at CHS Field.
Then his plans — perhaps his life — changed.
St. Paul Saints manager Toby Gardenhire called Gordon and said he had an important message. "I was like, 'Oh man, I hope I didn't do anything wrong.' He was just like, 'No — you're going to the big leagues,'" the former first-round pick said. "It was crazy. I needed a moment. It was just a lot of feelings, just knowing that I've been through a lot."
He has been through seven years of minor-league baseball, a debilitating case of gastritis that afflicted him for months, drastic weight loss, an adductor strain and, just as camp was about to start last summer, COVID-19, which kept him off the Twins' team of replacement players. Now he's in the majors, perhaps only temporarily — but with a chance to show he belongs.
"I just felt like a lot of times the odds were against me. But I knew that working hard, only good things could happen," the 25-year-old infielder said. "It could only be bad for so long. [I tried] staying positive for this moment. This is what you work for."
It happened because of the Twins' bout with COVID last week. Because Max Kepler and Kyle Garlick tested positive while on the road, the Twins could only replace them with their five-man taxi squad. But now back home and free to use any of their replacement players, they rearranged their roster, sending Travis Blankenhorn and Tomas Telis back to St. Paul and placing Miguel Sano on the injured list with a right hamstring strain.
In their place: Gordon and another first-rounder, outfielder Alex Kirilloff, plus former Red Sox infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.
The other two have big-league experience, if only a little. Gordon, the son of former big-league closer Tom "Flash" Gordon and half-brother to former big-league player Dee Strong-Gordon, is still getting used to the idea.
"I actually walked in to the batter's box of my first live [batting practice], and I was just like, 'Man. Wow. This is crazy. This is awesome,'" Gordon said. "Everything just looks bigger. The stands and everything looked awesome. I called my parents right after and I was like, 'Hey, that was my first time hitting at Target Field, and it felt amazing.'"