FORT MYERS, FLA. – The revamped daily schedule in the Twins clubhouse at Hammond Stadium now includes a famous quotation. Winston Churchill provided the one on Thursday:
“To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.”
“That was up there with a purpose,” lefthander Taylor Rogers said.
Preparations for the 2019 season began Thursday as Twins pitchers and catchers took to sun-drenched fields at the CenturyLink Sports Complex for the first day of workouts. And change was evident, as players were greeted with a new schedule, altered drills, a video session and some new conditioning drills, including one in which they jog lightly while holding their hands high, as if they were surrendering.
But all they were doing was embracing a different way of doing things.
Of course, there’s a new manager, new pitching coach, new bullpen coach and new first and third base coaches helping to run this camp, so there were going to be changes. Whether this will lead to a better, stronger and faster team remains to be seen, but the atmosphere was a spirited one on Day 1.
And Rocco Baldelli took it all in, as the information exchange between pitchers, catchers and coaches began.
“Honestly, it went great,” the manager said. “The guys, we got to come together for the first time and great energy out on the field. We have a schedule that Derek Shelton, our bench coach, put together and did a fantastic job on it and stayed on point. Got all the things accomplished that we wanted to get accomplished.”
Several position players — including Ehire Adrianza, C.J. Cron, Zack Granite, Jorge Polanco, Nick Gordon, Luke Raley, Lucas Duda, Ronald Torreyes, Jake Cave, Max Kepler and LaMonte Wade — worked out on a back field. The first full-squad workout isn’t until Monday, but there’s already a sizable group of position players around.
Baldelli is saving his best opening speech for Monday. But there already are hints of what type of camp he wants to run. The Twins will get their work in — he will try to not have them standing around, wasting time — but he wants players to enjoy themselves as well.
“The best way to describe it is to get the most out of our guys in a good, concise, short period of time,” Baldelli said. “I think we were able to accomplish that. We wanted to get our guys on the field, do good work, get them off the field and try to treat them good. It broke down real well and worked pretty cleanly. For rolling it out the first time, I don’t think it could have gone any better, and that’s a credit to Shelty.”