Even with their schedule frozen between dreary rain and forecasted snow, the Twins made their first roster move of the season Friday, and a curious one at that. But it probably makes sense if you focus, as Twins players' thoughts surely are by now, on the upcoming two-game junket to Puerto Rico.
Shortly after calling off Friday's game with the White Sox at Target Field because of a daylong off-and-on cold drizzle, the Twins sent outfielder Ryan LaMarre to Class AAA Rochester, opening a roster spot that will be filled if and when their season ever resumes. It was an unexpected move, given LaMarre's 4-for-8 start in a reserve role, but made more sense given the return of the virus that sidelined Addison Reed earlier in the week.
Reed pitched Wednesday, and brilliantly, extracting teammate Zach Duke from a bases-loaded, one-out predicament without a run, and then tacking on another scoreless inning against World Series champion Houston. That came a day after the Twins sent the righthander home when he was diagnosed with strep throat.
On Thursday, Reed felt mildly ill again, according to Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey, and some of his teammates did as well — hardly a surprise, given the uniformly cold weather the Twins have played in since the season began.
"With Addison still under the weather, and with where our bullpen is, we felt like it might be best to make sure we have enough pen arms," Falvey said Friday. "Looking at the matchups [nothing but righthanded opposing starting pitchers for the next week], we're probably going with mostly regulars for the next couple of days, so this move seemed prudent."
Falvey would not say who the Twins will summon. Look for a Rochester reliever — Alan Busenitz or John Curtiss or Tyler Duffey — to come up.
LaMarre might not be gone long. Under rules governing MLB games played outside the continental United States, teams are allowed to use 26-man rosters, due to the difficulty that could be involved in replacing an injured player. The extra player must be a position player, however.
Falvey said the Twins have not decided who to add for the games in San Juan and will probably wait until Sunday to announce it. There aren't many options, however — outfielders Jake Cave and Zack Granite are the only other position players on the 40-man roster who aren't already in the big leagues — so LaMarre would make the most sense.
Once the Twins return to a 25-man roster next Friday at Tampa Bay, however, LaMarre would have to rejoin Rochester, since optioned players cannot return to the majors for 10 days. "International" games do not pause that 10-day clock, so it's conceivable LaMarre could be with the Twins again by April 23, when the team visits the Yankees.
Falvey said the Twins remain hopeful of playing another home game before departing for Puerto Rico on Sunday night, even if it means braving freezing temperatures.
"Getting at least one of them in would be helpful," Falvey said of the 1:10 p.m. games Saturday and Sunday. "The way the forecasts change on an almost hourly basis — yesterday it said there was a 100 percent chance of rain this morning, but it didn't arrive until later — we're just going to take it day-by-day."
Once rain and hail arrived around 3 p.m., the teams agreed that Friday wasn't feasible, and the game was postponed.
The Twins and White Sox have made tentative plans for makeup games but will wait to see how many games need to be rescheduled before announcing them. The White Sox return to Target Field June 5-7, and both teams have June 4 off.
Fans holding tickets to Friday's game may use them for the makeup game, or exchange them at the Target Field ticket office for any regular-season game this year. Spring Ballpark Pass holders can use the passes only for the makeup game.
No fifth starter needed
Lefthander Adalberto Mejia, his travel schedule from Rochester disrupted by weather Thursday, was en route to the Twin Cities on Friday when word came that his potential start had been scrubbed.
The rainout enables the Twins to avoid using a fifth starter until April 24 in New York, so their current rotation plans have not changed. For the moment.