Happy Opening Day! FINALLY! Major League Baseball has navigated the COVID-19 waters successfully, to the point where a season can be started. Will it finish? That's a question that will be answered over the next two months, as teams embark on a truncated 60-game schedule.
To celebrate the beginning of the season, we are answering some questions about your favorite team as it looks to repeat at AL Central champions. Here's the Q and A.....
Buxton still day to day or more serious?
LEN3: We thought center fielder Byron Buxton traveled to Chicago on Thursday, but he instead worked out at CHS Field in St. Paul. So that suggests one of two things. One, he's likely traveling on Friday to join the club. So it's doubtful they would play him in a game the same day. Two, they decided there's no reason to rush him and will reevaluate him when they return to the Twin Cities after Sunday's games. Either way, the fact that he's working out is a positive sign, because that injury has knocked athletes in other sports out longer than a couple of weeks,
How is Miguel Sano faring so far? How close to 100% will he be on Friday? Thank you.
LEN3: He's looked rusty and has admitted as much. I think he's going to get off to a little bit of a slow start. Then again, I think hitters across the league are going to need some at-bats to get their timing down because they've been playing glorified live batting practice sessions with their own pitchers. But we'll see. Sano has looked pretty good defensively, though. He made a couple nice plays at first in the Cubs game, including picking a Josh Donaldson throw out of the dirt.
Is CoomDog in the house ?
LEN3: He was the first person I saw after I parked the car and starting walking to the ballpark. Ron Coomer is doing great and has a big following in town. He also has a sports bar in Lockport called Coom's Corner.
Random Q: Did the BBWAA give any thought to pooling beat reporters in each city to cover visiting teams so you all don’t have to travel? It seems like that would make a lot of sense.
LEN3: No. The desire is for writers to be allowed to travel and report on games. This is an unprecedented season in the middle of an unprecedented year in our lives, and it should be chronicled by those who are familiar with their teams. It's a little tricky, because a couple of teams want reporters to get tested or quarantine for 14 days if they fly into town on a plane. I've decided that I'm driving to all the road trips I'm covering in order to get around that. I like to drive, anyway.
Is this a World Series or bust year? Rosario, Gonzalez, Cruz, Polanco are blocking are top prospects. Will we "refresh" with our prospects or look to re-sign some of the 11 veteran FA's and make another run with the existing roster?
LEN3: Um, when a team wins 101 games then adds Josh Donaldson, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Homer Bailey and Tyler Clippard, its looking to do more damage. I wouldn't call it blocking prospects. Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran and others will likely make their debuts at some point over the next two months when someone gets injured or is struggling. And they should be motivated to be as prepared for that possibility as much as they can. And I don't think this is a boom or bust year. Donaldson, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano are on multi-year contracts. Their window is open. They might be running into trouble with Jose Berrios, who is betting on himself to demand big bucks and has turned down contract approaches by the Twins in the past.
What, if any baseball activity will be taking place in my backyard, meaning CenturyLink Sports Complex? Rehab activity? Any baseball instruction or minor league activity at all?
LEN3: As of now, the 30 players who didn't make the active roster will remain in town and work out at Target Field or CHS Field. Rehab will likely take place in Minnesota. Not sure when the complex will be needed in the near future.
Do you believe the Twins rotation is good to go, or will another *notable* addition before the trade deadline be necessary? If so, do you think it will mean parting with Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff?
LEN3: There's roughly a month to go before the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see which teams decide to become sellers. Will they do it because they are out of the running -- Keep in mind that the expanded playoff format will give more teams a chance to make the postseason -- or will they move contracts because they are losing too much money due to the pandemic? And who will be willing to add to payroll. I would not move on a pitcher unless he's on par with Jose Berrios or Jake Odorizzi. And, yes, if it takes a top prospect to make the deal happen, it must be considered.