MINNEAPOLIS — Keoni Cavaco had a busy day Tuesday, signing his first professional contract, touring Target Field, doing the media rounds and meeting with many of the current Minnesota Twins.
One thing he didn’t do was take any swings at the stadium.
“He’ll get to take plenty of swings for the Minnesota Twins as we go forward,” chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. “I have no doubt about that.”
The Twins on Tuesday signed their first-rounder, who they chose last week with the 13th pick in the first round of the draft, for $4.05 million, which is just slightly under slot. He will head out to Fort Myers, Fla., to begin his professional career with the rookie level Gulf Coast Twins.
The 18-year-old infielder was drafted out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, Calif. after catching the Twins’ attention last fall. Once the Twins saw him, they couldn’t stop watching.
“I got a lot of Keoni propaganda about once a week, once a day from April-May-June,” scouting director Sean Johnson said. “I’d call the guys, I’m like ‘Where you at?’ They’re like ‘San Diego.’ And I’m like ‘You went back to see him again?’ We have a couple guys who are like, ‘I can’t just quit going and watching him.’ You fall in love with certain players, and Keoni is certainly one of a few guys’ on our staff’s favorite players they’ve ever scouted.”
Cavaco, who is forgoing an opportunity to play college baseball at San Diego State, has ambitious plans to make it back to Target Field in just three years. His experience Tuesday only cemented that.
“This past week, it didn’t really hit me I got drafted and then coming here and seeing the stadium, it really hit me that I’m part of this organization now,” Cavaco said. “I want to get here quicker and be a part of this team.”
Ortiz on Twins' minds
Red Sox legend David Ortiz, who is reportedly in stable condition after being shot Sunday, June 9, in the Dominican Republic, has been on plenty of Twins’ minds in the past couple of days.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who has talked to one of Ortiz’s family members and hoped to talk to his father Tuesday, is a longtime friend. Cruz said he first met Ortiz in 2007 when he helped welcome him into the big leagues. Both are from the Dominican Republic.
“He’s one of our biggest ambassadors. He’s represented us for such a long time not only on the field, but also off the field,” Cruz said. “He helps the communities in Boston, all over the States and in the Dominican through his foundation and he’s a big inspiration for a lot of kids in the Dominican. Kids, and even guys in the league when he was playing, including myself. Definitely a sad moment for the whole country.”
The news also hit close to home for manager Rocco Baldelli, who spent a season as Ortiz’s teammate in Boston in 2009 and the rest of his career playing against him. Baldelli said Ortiz was a “special guy” to him.
Ortiz has undergone two surgeries, per reports, and is in intensive care at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“He’s got this tremendous energy that he brings,” Baldelli said. “He’s David Ortiz, and you talk to him, he’s wonderful, and then he steps on the field, and he’s Big Papi. And he can go back and forth. Not many people can do that. He’s this bigger-than-life character, but he’s a man, too, and he’s just a wonderful guy.”