The Twins convened a summit meeting late Saturday morning at Target Field, with Derek Falvey and Paul Molitor hashing out an important issue with a group of veteran players. The topic: When should we play Saturday’s game?
The regularly scheduled 1:10 p.m. start was out, given that a steady rain was already falling and was predicted to last all afternoon. But the matter of a makeup date was in the hands of the players, thanks to a collectively bargained MLB limit of three day-night doubleheaders per season without player approval. The Twins already had one such two-game day Thursday and they have double-up makeup games scheduled for June 17 and July 1, so they are at the limit only seven weeks into the season.
The Twins laid out the possibilities to the impromptu panel of players (and second baseman Brian Dozier consulted Royals player representative Alex Gordon by phone): Play the game Sunday night, allowing the Twins to protect Saturday’s gate. Or reschedule it for Sept. 2, when the Royals return to town on Labor Day weekend, again as a day-night possibility.
The players ultimately chose the third option, though: a traditional one-admission doubleheader, with Saturday’s game made up 30 minutes after the regularly scheduled game concludes. It will be the first such doubleheader in Target Field history and the first in Minneapolis since a Twins-Oakland twin bill at the Metrodome on May 26, 2001.
The meeting was more of a discussion than a negotiation, according to one player who was present, but the group was firm in its desire to play both games this weekend, if weather permits, because the Royals’ final series in Minnesota falls in the middle of a stretch of 29 games in 29 days for the Twins.
And the Twins didn’t want to wait around to play a night game because they are flying to Baltimore to open a series with the Orioles on Monday. (Similarly, the Royals are headed to New York to play the Yankees.) A late game would have meant a potential 4 a.m. arrival at their hotel.
“Everyone agreed that this made the most sense from a baseball perspective,” the player said.
The Twins and Fox Sports North secured a waiver from ESPN to allow the second game to be televised regionally, even though it figures to partly overlap with “Sunday Night Baseball’s” exclusive window.
As for ticket-holders, Sunday tickets grant admission to both games. Saturday tickets must be exchanged at the Target Field box office, though, with their value credited toward another game. They are not refundable. Suiteholders and premium ticket owners will be contacted by the Twins.
Fallout for pitchers
With the schedule solved, another puzzle remains. Phil Hughes will pitch Sunday’s first game as scheduled, and Adalberto Mejia will pitch the second. But Mejia’s roster status was still being resolved Saturday.
The Twins can add a 26th player for the second game of the doubleheader, and it might be Mejia. But the Twins weren’t certain whether he had to be added to the 25-man roster, given that he has been in limbo for a day already. That would necessitate removing another player off the roster to make room.
Also uncertain: the identity of Monday’s starting pitcher in Baltimore. It’s possible it could be Adam Wilk, claimed off waivers a week ago from the Mets. Perhaps more likely: Kyle Gibson, who did not pitch as scheduled for Class AAA Rochester on Saturday night.
The Royals will activate Ian Kennedy from the disabled list to pitch Sunday’s second game but had not announced their starter for Game 1. Jason Hammel had been scheduled to start Sunday, but he has been pushed back to Monday.
• Lefthander Stephen Gonsalves, who injured his shoulder near the end of Twins spring training, has been activated by Class AA Chattanooga.
• Twins pitching coach Neil Allen returned to Target Field after missing Friday night’s game to attend his son Bobby’s graduation in Sarasota, Fla.
• Kansas City righthander Nate Karns left after throwing 72 pitches in five innings Friday because of stiffness in his pitching arm.