About 20 Twins players have been on a text string with Rhonda Carew over the past several months, receiving updates about Hall of Famer Rod Carew as he waited for a heart transplant.
They were all thrilled when a donor heart became available in December. On Friday, they learned where the heart came from.
“I read the story, and I started tearing up,” Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said.
Carew, who was on the transplant list after suffering a massive heart attack in September 2015, now has the heart of Konrad Reuland, a former NFL player with the Jets and Ravens.
Reuland was working out on Dec. 12 when he suffered an aneurysm and died. His family donated his organs.
Carew was moved up the donor list on Dec. 9 after Rhonda and doctors lobbied for him after a subdural hematoma he dealt with in July made it impossible for him to take blood thinners. After the heart attack, Carew was fitted with a left ventricular assist device that helped pump blood and had been waiting for a transplant.
Surgery took place on Dec. 14. According to the San Jose Mercury News, friends read the two stories and wondered if it was the same heart. Reuland’s mother, Mary, contacted Rhonda. A meeting between the families was arranged, and they are now forever connected.
Dozier is thrilled for Carew, but he’s also thrilled about what kind of person Konrad was.
“Being faith-based, I think of how good of a guy Rod is,” Dozier said. “Then I learned about Konrad. You can’t make this stuff up.”
Carew is slowly becoming more active, such as being allowed to drive a car. Twins President Dave St. Peter said that Carew remains under a travel restriction but, hopefully, will be cleared to attend a Twins game by midsummer.
“You cannot help but be filled with an array of emotions when learning about Rod Carew’s connection with Konrad Reuland,” St. Peter said. “The Minnesota Twins organization sends prayers to the Reuland family. In my view, today’s a day to celebrate Konrad’s life as well as his impact on and off the field.”
Brandon Kintzler has not appeared in a game since Sunday, which has been good for his right index finger.
In his last outing, his cracked fingernail began to bleed despite attempts to glue it together. Moreover, some of the glue got on his finger.
“Then I couldn’t feel the ball,” Kintzler said. “Every ball I threw to the first guy in the ninth went in the ground.”
Both Kintzler and manager Paul Molitor think the time off has helped.
One unknown is whether he will be able to handle a busy workload, back-to-back games or three games in five days.
“No, I’m sure I will be fine,” Kintzler said.
He initially cracked it during spring training. He thinks it’s because he’s throwing more sliders. Last season, 7.3 percent of his pitches were sliders. This year, it’s up to 19.2 percent. Consequently, he’s down to 80.8 percent fastballs from 88.0 last season.
“I haven’t thrown sliders in years,” Kintzler said. “That nail is probably trying figure out what’s going on.”
The Twins want Kintzler to stick with the slider usage, but the nail could have something to say about that.
“It’s a pretty good slider,” Molitor said.
• First baseman ByungHo Park, on the seven-day disabled list at Class AAA Rochester, has a right hamstring strain that’s not considered serious, Molitor said.
• Lefthander Tyler Jay, the sixth overall pick in 2015, is on the seven-day DL at Class AA Chattanooga with biceps tendinitis. The Twins hope he can return to action in early May.