Twins preparing for physical distancing measures

Hey, It's Cory Hepola
June 30, 2020 - 1:59 pm
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As the Minnesota Twins prepare for the players returning for summer camp, they also have to prepare the facilities for physical distance due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli joined "Hey, It's Cory Hepola" today to describe some of the changes that are happening at Target Field this season. 

"We're actually moving a lot of our activities, our clubhouse situation, our training room, our strength and conditioning outdoors. We know the benefits of simply being outside."

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While players will be encouraged to spend as much time away from the stadiums as possible, including showering and preparing for the game, Baldelli acknowledges the clubhouse is like the player's home. 

"We always talk about in baseball is the clubhouse is the player's house, it's their home. It's where they should be able to relax, it’s where they should be the most comfortable. We still want that to be the case. It's just gonna be a little bit of a different setting. So maybe there's a little bit of a nostalgic feeling. Maybe it's actually fun. We're gonna try to make it fun for our guys. We're gonna, you know, hopefully, have a cookout outside, maybe even have an ice cream stand. They can feel like a little league again being out of school."

Related: How the Minnesota Twins 60-Man Roster Affects the Pitching Staff, Fringe Players and Prospects

Game preparation won't be the only thing that looks different this season. With masks becoming the social norm and physical distancing being a must to stop the spread of the pandemic, Baldelli details what some of the changes will be this season. 

"Everyone inside, regardless of who you are, we'll have to wear a mask at all times. Those were things that we're just gonna have to deal with. We're setting up alternative seating situations on the bench, where only the players playing in the game are actually on the bench. And we have a covered section above our dugout for other players and other staff members. Our bullpen guys might actually be in the bleachers as well. We really are stretching our creative abilities right here. But you know what? It's been fun to watch people do it and see what we come up with."

Related: MLB Power Rankings: Who is best set up to win in 2020?

While players and coaches are allowed to opt-out of the season, Baldelli says none of his players have decided to do that as of yet, but that two coaches will not participate this year. Coaches Bill Evers (66) and Bob McClure (68) have been told by the club that they will not be allowed to work games this season because they are high-risk candidates for COVID-19. The manager says that if players do decide to opt-out, the club will back their decision.

"If there are people who have concerns we would never pressure anyone to do anything they were not comfortable with. I think that's very clear and we feel good about that part of it." 

The Twins open summer camp on July 1st. The 60-game 2020 season will start on July 24th. You can hear all 60 games on the radio home of the Twins, News Talk 830 WCCO. 

Hear all of Rocco and Cory's interview here:

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