FORT MYERS, FLA. – Twins lefthander J.A. Happ is in the midst of a 10-day quarantine period after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Derek Falvey, Twins president of baseball operations, said Happ tested positive "a few days ago" and is asymptomatic. He will quarantine where he is staying in Fort Myers before joining the team.
Happ, who signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Twins in January, should not have much of a problem catching up if he's cleared to play right after his quarantine period, manager Rocco Baldelli said.
"In some small way, at the beginning of camp when he comes in, will he be a little behind initially? Probably so," Baldelli said. "That being said, I don't foresee this being a long-term issue of any kind. J.A. is one, a guy who needs to know what he needs to do to get ready for a season, has all the equipment — baseballs, nets — everything that he will need to keep his throwing progression going at home."
Happ went 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA with the Yankees last season.
Happ tested positive during the intake process that has been established by Major League Baseball. The process includes a five-day quarantine period, a temperature check, a diagnostic PCR saliva test, an antibody test and self-quarantine until the results of the PCR are reported.
"Coming into camp, we knew the odds were that there would be some positive tests," Baldelli said.
Happ can be tested at the end of his quarantine period. If he tests negative, he can report to camp.
"As long as he remains asymptomatic, he would test right on the 10th day," Falvey said.
There's a chance more Twins players have tested positive. Happ is one of 13 Twins who were unable to report to camp because of virus issues, visa problems or weather delays. The Twins cannot announce the names of players with COVID-19 without their consent.
Ready to rebound
Mitch Garver was limited to 23 games in 2020 partly because of an intercostal strain. In those games, Garver batted .167 with two homers and five RBI. This coming after he won the Silver Slugger Award in 2019 for being the best hitting catcher in baseball.
Strains around the midsection make it hard to swing a bat and can lead to bad habits. Garver said he worked over his swing during this offseason.
"There were some things I couldn't do last year," Garver said. "Because of the intercostal, we kind of picked that apart early in the offseason and maybe I wasn't able to do some of the moves I needed to because I was subconsciously guarding it or it was hurting or it was not in the right spot so we kind of made those adjustments early in the offseason."
Garver was working his way back from the strain at the alternate training site in St. Paul when he was hit below the belt while catching. He was wearing protection, but it's still far from a pleasant experience and it set back his return.
With just 81 plate appearances in 2020, Garver pretty much gets a mulligan. The changes he made during the offseason were not drastic.
"There's nothing significant or anything about my swing," he said. "It's still my same approach and same swing."
Byron Buxton, Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker and Gilberto Celestino were among position players who reported to camp on Saturday. Miguel Sano stopped by the complex and Nelson Cruz was going through the intake process before he's cleared to report.