Citing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Twins will not allow bullpen coach Bob McClure and major league coach Bill Evers to work games this year, according to a source with knowledge of the decisions.
Pete Maki, the minor league pitching coordinator, is in line to step in as the new bullpen coach, while Evers’ role is expected to be filled in the near future.
The decision came after the Twins examined the health histories of their staff members, taking age and any existing conditions into account.
McClure, 68, was entering his first season as bullpen coach, replacing Jeremy Hefner, who was hired as the Mets pitching coach. McClure, who spent the previous two seasons as the organization’s senior adviser to pitching development, has twin 8-year-old sons.
Evers, 66, was entering his second season as a major league coach after spending 23 seasons with the Rays organization, the past two as minor league field coordinator. He was Joe Maddon’s bench coach in 2006 and 2007 while Twins manager Rocco Baldelli played for the Rays.
Both McClure and Evers will remain on the payroll, possibly contributing in some advisory capacity.
The virus has affected the elderly more than any other age group, leading to greater concerns about their health and safety. As baseball opens training camps Wednesday with an eye on a late July opening, more clubs might consider similar steps with their coaching staffs.
That could lead to some tough decisions as eight managers were at least 60 years old in 2019, including former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who is now running the Tigers at age 62.
Two other members of that sexagenarian group, Bruce Bochy at San Francisco and Ned Yost at Kansas City, stepped down after last season, while Clint Hurdle was fired by Pittsburgh.
The Houston Astros, attempting to emerge from a sign-stealing scandal, hired Dusty Baker to replace the fired A.J. Hinch. Baker turned 71 on June 15 and is the oldest manager in baseball.
Radio crew grounded
In a separate move, the Twins have decided not to allow their radio team of Cory Provus and Dan Gladden to work road games this season.
Provus, who joined the Twins in 2012, and Gladden, who is heading into his 21st season in the booth, will call all 60 games from the Twin Cities, watching road games on a monitor. It’s likely an attempt by the club to keep the traveling party as small as possible for health reasons.
• Twins minor leaguer Jose Rosario was hit with a 50-game suspension without pay by Major League Baseball for a positive test for a drug of abuse. Rosario, an 18-year-old, hit .248 in 42 games in his home country in the Twins’ Dominican Rookie League affiliate last year.
• Many teams released their training camp rosters, which can contain up to 60 players, on Sunday; the Twins will announce theirs Monday.