While the coronavirus pandemic is keeping its teams from finalizing spring training plans roughly a month away from the traditional start, the Twins do have plans. One of them is to have at least some fans at Target Field for Opening Day, likely in April.

“We’re pushing forward so that we can reintroduce fans in Fort Myers (Fla.), as well as in Minnesota, for the start of the season,” Twins president Dave St. Peter said Wednesday.

It wouldn’t be 40,000 at Target Field, as might be expected for a team that has won consecutive American League Central titles. But it would be a start. The Twins, like all major league teams, played in empty stadiums for the entire 60-game 2020 season.

“We don’t take that for granted,” St. Peter added, “but we’re hoping that will be approved by Major League Baseball, and more importantly the State of Minnesota and the Department of Health. But we’re working toward that if conditions allow.”

The St. Paul Saints played a shortened season in front of a limited number of fans in 2020, first in a bubble in Sioux Falls, S.D., and later in their Lowertown park, CHS Field, where they were allowed up to 1,500 masked fans organized in pods. By season’s end, the MDH had traced only three COVID-positive people who had attended a Saints game, and none of the team’s players or staff tested positive all summer.

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“Having hosted a limited-capacity crowds safely in 2020, our hope and intent is to do the same when opening the 2021 season,” Saints executive vice president Derek Sharer said Wednesday.

Although COVID-19 deaths have hit a sobering high in the United States, the slow rollout of vaccinations that began in February has baseball optimistic it can play something much closer to a normal season than it did in 2020, when the pandemic forced MLB to piece together a 60-game, regionally based regular season that gave way to expanded postseason that was played in localized bubbles.

As of Wednesday, the Twins were scheduled to begin spring training workouts Feb. 19 and play their first Grapefruit League game against Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Feb. 27. That won’t be made official until MLB officially gives the order.

“There was some learning done last season, and there are differences and nuances about spring training that need to be considered,” St. Peter said. “But we’re deep into our internal planning, and we’re assuming that in Minnesota, baseball will start in April.”

MLB made the decision last week to begin spring training in two phases. As first reported by Baseball America, major league spring training will begin more or less on time and feature players that ultimately will be on the Triple-A team, as well. Players expected to start in Single- and Double-A will report when the previous cohort leave for their seasons and “lag about a month behind,” St. Peter said.

That means if the Twins start in April, so will the St. Paul Saints, who in December officially became Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate as part of a reorganization of all minor league baseball. The Saints are scheduled to play a 144-game schedule but are waiting for guidance. MLB completely reorganized, and essentially took control of minor league baseball.

That’s the primary reason the Saints still haven’t officially been given marching orders for 2021. Sharer declined this week to comment on anything related to the team’s schedule because the team simply doesn’t know. But MLB made the move to reorganize minor league baseball — purging more than 40 teams in the process — to bring parent clubs and affiliates into regional balance. At roughly 11 miles between Target Field and CHS Field, the Twins and Saints are the closest affiliates in baseball.

In line with baseball’s regional edict, it is expected the Saints will play in a sort of Central Division of the International League, which traditionally has comprised teams from the East and Midwest. That would mean rivals such as Des Moines (Cubs), Omaha (Royals) and the formerly independent team in Sugar Land, Texas (Houston Astros).

In addition, baseball is expected to limit Triple-A travel by having teams play only within their divisions, and perhaps longer series in road parks. The Twins’ Single-A affiliates in Florida and Iowa will remain in their leagues, the Florida State and Midwest, respectively; and their new Double-A team in Wichita will play in the Texas League.

The Twins finished their 2020 season with two playoff losses to the Houston Astros that extended their major league-record postseason skid to an astonishing 19 straight games. However, they were one of the few teams to finish the season without an in-season positive COVID test among its players and staff.

Asked whether MLB would be in position to buy its own COVID-19 vaccinations, St. Peter said, “That’s to be determined, but I’ll tell you there is great sensitivity about jumping the line for vaccinations. Nobody wants to go down that road.”

But there have been, St. Peter said, conversations — league-wide and in Minnesota — about a partnership to quell skepticism about the vaccine that would include major leaguers, and maybe other pro athletes, getting the vaccine.

“There has been a dialog about whether pro sports might be able to help, that pro athletes might be willing to lend their voice to a message encouraging vaccination,” he said. “I do think there’s a decent chance we’ll see some of that happen.”