Twins players and coaches will report to sunny Fort Myers, Fla., for spring training by mid-February.
But this weekend, most of them will gather in frigid Minneapolis for TwinsFest at Target Field.
New manager Rocco Baldelli has been on the team’s northern caravan this week, awaking to subzero temperatures Thursday morning in Bemidji before heading to Duluth.
One player who will be absent is pitcher Kyle Gibson, who is recovering from an E. coli infection. Gibson will remain at his home in Fort Myers to recuperate, and indications are that Gibson should be fine by the time pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13.
“TwinsFest is an event that my wife & I really enjoy being a part of, so to make the decision to skip it was very difficult,” Gibson (kgib44) wrote on Twitter. “Last week I thought I was progressing enough to be able to come up, but the last couple days have not gone as well as I hoped.”
Gibson did mission work in the Dominican Republic and Haiti during the offseason, but it is not clear if he was infected during those trips.
Third baseman Miguel Sano also is missing TwinsFest to play for his Estrellas de Oriente team in the Dominican Winter League. Estrellas won the league championship for the first time in 51 years to qualify for the Caribbean World Series in Venezuela.
More than 65 current and former players and coaches will be at TwinsFest this weekend, with spring training only a few weeks away and fans anticipating the upcoming season. New Twins Blake Parker, C.J. Cron and Nelson Cruz are scheduled to attend. Lefthander Martin Perez, who has agreed to a $3.5 million, one-year contract, is expected to have signed his deal in time to come to the event.
TwinsFest runs 4-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, with tickets running $20 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under.
For a schedule of events, click here.
The Diamond Awards on Thursday night recognized the Twins’ 2018 award winners, as determined by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The winners, announced late last year, were: outfielder Eddie Rosario (MVP), Jose Berrios (pitcher of the year and community service award), outfielder Jake Cave (rookie of the year), outfielder Max Kepler (defensive player of the year), Joe Mauer (Upper Midwest player of the year and Bob Allison Award for leadership on and off the field), Gibson (most improved), outfielder Alex Kirilloff (minor league player of the year), Lewis Thorpe (minor league pitcher of the year) and former third baseman Corey Koskie (alumni community service). Jack Morris, inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, received the Herb Carneal Lifetime Achievement Award.