The Twins’ upcoming road trip to St. Louis — all of one day — is “unusual,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
But what about 2020 isn’t?
The Twins were approached last month about shortening their two-game series in St. Louis to a doubleheader in an effort to create an extra off day for the Cardinals, who have been cramming in doubleheaders after experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak earlier in the season.
The quick trip to St. Louis gives the Twins two straight days of — Wednesday and Thursday — an anomaly during the season.
“I think it’s probably one of those things where it’s six of one or half a dozen of the other,” Baldelli said. “It puts us in a spot where we get the two off days in a row. We will work out one of those off days so we’re not just sitting around for two consecutive days, which I think works fine. It allows everyone to catch up physically more than anything else.”
The ability to have a couple days to catch up physically will be welcomed by the Twins, who were without Nelson Cruz for the second straight day Monday. Baldelli said he has hope that Cruz, who is dealing with some hip soreness, would be ready to play in the doubleheader.
Miguel Sano was out of the lineup after dealing with some mild hamstring soreness Sunday, Baldelli said. Monday was also a day off for Jorge Polanco, who Baldelli said was “due for an off day” and had been “pretty stiff” lately.
“With all of these guys, there’s a pretty strong hope that, with the doubleheader coming up tomorrow, they could play the 14 innings and get out there,” Baldelli said. “We’ll have a better idea of that tomorrow, but that’s what we’re thinking.”
Jose Berrios is scheduled to start Game 1 for the Twins with Randy Dobnak, who will be throwing on short rest, starting Game 2.
Baldelli said catcher Mitch Garver, who has been on the injured list since Aug. 20 with a right intercostal strain has been swinging the bat and will start to ramp up his activity.
“There’s a chance this week that he really starts to ramp up his on-field movements more, live speed,” Baldelli said. “I know he’s going to be catching some guys Wednesday. Mitch should be out there moving around and getting some action.”
Baldelli said Garver is getting to a point where they’re “going to get a chance to see what he’s capable of,” but that the catcher has been doing well to date. Both Garver and backup catcher Alex Avila (back) are currently on the IL.
Reliever Cody Stashak was activated from the IL (back) on Monday and Devin Smeltzer was optioned to the alternate training site in St. Paul. Stashak threw a scoreless inning in the Twins’ win Monday. … Byron Buxton wore customized cleats Monday, paying tribute to George Floyd on one cleat with the words “It ends now.” His two sons, Brixton and Blaze, were on the other cleat. “I want them to stay safe and be safe,” Buxton said. “It starts with me and the rest of us guys to keep pushing stuff forward. We’ve just got to keep pushing.”