FORT MYERS, FLA. – Rocco Baldelli was asked Friday about the potential of his starting rotation.
"I feel fortunate," the Twins manager said. "I was able to stand out there and address a really, really good group of pitchers and catchers."
He also stood at the CenturyLink Sports Complex and addressed a really, really small group of pitchers and catchers. The Twins are supposed to have 45 pitchers and catchers in camp, including players training in a depth camp elsewhere on campus.
But on the day members of the battery reported, 13 of them — pitchers Andrew Albers, Jorge Alcala, Danny Coulombe, Tyler Duffey, Jhoan Duran, J.A. Happ, Derek Law, Juan Minaya, Matt Shoemaker, Glenn Sparkman, Ian Gibaut and Robinson Layer; and catcher Tomas Telis — were missing.
Some players have been slowed by the extreme weather that has hammered much of the country over the past week, particularly in Texas, where cold weather led to a massive power outage, pipes freezing and bursting and a shortage of water.
Visa issues affected some players who travel to the United States from other countries. For the record, Willians Astudillo — who was late to camp in 2018 and 2019 because of visa problems — reported to camp on time this year.
The other reason is COVID-19 protocols. Players can be out for a variety of reasons, including going through the intake phase, which involves testing and quarantine.
Teams cannot announce their COVID cases without the players' consent. Consequently, the Twins were unable to reveal which player fell in the weather, visa or COVID bucket on Friday.
"The weather across the country, notably in the southern portion of the Midwest, has led to some delays for some players traveling in, either those who were supposed to arrive 2-3 days ago when it all kicked off," said Derek Falvey, the Twins President of Baseball Operations. "Some haven't arrived, others just getting here and as a result haven't cleared their intake testing and therefore aren't on the field. That has happened for a few of our players.
"We have had a couple of players with visa-related issues, which is somewhat expected in terms of their arrival. We're not a full pitchers and catchers camp today and wouldn't expect to be over the next couple of days."
The Twins announcement came on the same day that Major League Baseball and the players' association jointly released the first COVID testing results of the year. Of 4,335 samples, only 13 — or 0.3% — came back positive from those who went through intake screening, which consists of a five-day at-home quarantine, a contact-less temperature check, a diagnostic saliva test, an antibody test, and a self-quarantine until the results are reported.
All individuals who have cleared intake screening become subject to regular Monitoring Testing. Among the 2,298 of those samples collected and analyzed so far, none have come back positive. So Baldelli and his staff worked with what they had on Friday. The Twins split up their camp into three groups — called the Wolves, Wild and Vikings — with one group throwing a bullpen each day.
"We were able to get a good full day's work in today," Baldelli said. "Obviously not having a number of guys not here just makes it for me and a few of the coaches having to communicate a few things again to the players that weren't in on time. But that's going to work fine, we knew we were going to have to make adjustments.
"The day did go very well and it was not altered from what we planned to do. The schedule remained the same and we got our work in."
The first full-squad workout, and the first day the media is allowed at camp, is Tuesday.