BRADENTON, FLA. -- The Twins are having a bullpen game today in Bradenton against the Pirates, as Taylor Rogers will start and be relieved by Trevor Hildenberger followed by Tyler Duffey. The Twins want Rogers and Hildenberger to face major league hitters, leading to the unusual set up.
But the news is back in Fort Myers, where Jorge Polanco is meeting with reporters one day after he slapped with an 80-game suspension for testing positive for Stanazolol.
Phil Miller is on the scene for that session, as well as the meeting with CBO Derek Falvey.
I did swing through the clubhouse this morning before the bus left for Bradenton, and talked to some more people in Bradenton. Twins players, not surprisingly, feel terrible for Polanco. But second baseman Brian Dozier made it clear that players don't want cheaters in the game.
"I do know this, that we as players want performance enhancing drugs out of the equation for everybody," he said. "We don't want it in our game, no part of it. We want a clean game. With that being said, people make mistakes. That's the world we live in. And I know, more than ever, Polanco needs a little love right now. That's my brother. So that comes first.
"He's our brother and we've got his back. He needs a little love and he'll get it from us."
Dozier, like a couple other players I asked, found out about the suspension Sunday night via twitter. The text messages started flying right after that.
"That was a tough part that the news," outfielder Byron Buxton said. "You see the news and you automatically feel for him. No one had a clue about anything. When I found out on twitter, I tried to get his number so he could have that support system."
Buxton texted Miguel Sano for some more details, then contacted Polanco.
"I just told him to keep you head up. You know we've got your back, things like that," Buxton said. "He texted me back and said he appreciated it and was sorry. We all know it is a tough time for him. Just trying to be there for him and let him know that he has a shoulder to lean on."
Sano, perhaps Polanco's closest friend, tried to console him as well.
"He's sad," Sano said. "He was crying last night. We talked a lot. It's a bad spot for him, the team, his family. He told me he never tried to do it."
Many players have not spoken to Polanco yet. Most players had left the ballpark on Sunday when the suspension was announced. Then there was an early bus to Bradenton today. Tuesday is a scheduled off day. Polanco won't be able to speak to his teammates until Wednesday afternoon, before the evening game against Pittsburgh.
Polanco, the way, is scheduled to earn $575,000 this season. The suspension will cost him $287,500 in wages. That's based on an 186-day league calendar, so if there's a rainout, and his return date of June 30 is pushed back, it will cost him even more.
Back to baseball...
Brian Dozier, 2B
Max Kepler, RF
Miguel Sano, 1B
Eddie Rosario, DH
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Byron Buxton, CF
Robbie Grossman, LF
Jason Castro, C
Ehire Adrianza, SS
Taylor Rogers, LHP
Sean Rodriguez, 2B
Starling Marte, CF
Gregory Polanco, RF
Josh Bell, DH
Corey Dickerson, LF
Francisco Cervelli, C
Jose Osuna, 1B
Max Moroff, SS
Eric Wood, 3B
Nick Kingham, RHP