Twins keep up workouts, find ways to pass time during shutdown

Taylor Rogers
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Taylor Rogers (55) delivers a pitch in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers on July 6 at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: David Berding / USA TODAY Sports
 

Taylor Rogers hasn’t been home in Colorado during spring for the past 11 years. It’s been so long, he joked, that he forgot what March weather was like back home.

It’s in the 60s now in Denver, though Rogers, like the rest of the country, has been spending much of his time inside at home. So much so that the Minnesota Twins closer might just have one of the most color-coded closets in the area. Anything to pass time.

“That’s how bored I am,” Rogers said on a Monday conference call.

Major League Baseball is on an indefinite pause due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, and players are trying their best to keep themselves entertained — and in shape — while they await news on when the sport might return.

Rogers has been playing catch with Twins minor leaguer Griffin Jax, who lives nearby, and says the rest of the pitchers on the team are doing the same, sticking to one catch partner and getting in some type of workout.

 

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who has a home gym in the Dominican Republic, streamed his workout on Monday live on Instagram, and said he’s been trying to be more active on social media so fans and others can have something to look forward to.

“Some days I go crazy,” he said. “I play a little basketball, work out, hit, go back and hit again, play some dominoes with my cousin. My cousin and two of my friends stay together. … We stay up late, we don’t go out, we watch movies, Netflix. We talk. We spend most of the time keeping the mind busy.”

Some players have remained in Fort Myers, Fla., near the Twins’ spring training complex, where they are allowed to work out, but not in a organized setting. President of baseball operations Derek Falvey said last week that Byron Buxton remained in Fort Myers, finishing off the rehab program he was going through as he worked his way back from last year’s season-ending shoulder surgery.

Another group of players came back to Minneapolis, including relief pitcher Trevor May. May, who lives in Seattle, made his way to Minnesota instead of going home to Seattle, which has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

“So, um, I’m streaming tomorrow morning,” May, who streams on Twitch, tweeted earlier this month. “Thank god for 2nd jobs, you know?”

 
 

The reliever, who is fairly active on social media, has tweeted about the difficulties throwing a ball regularly in an apartment and, of course, about video games. Starting pitcher Randy Dobnak also has turned to the internet to fill his time.

“Hey Alexa, what do people typically do during the spring months?” Dobnak tweeted last week.

While apart, the Twins have remained in touch. The team checks in with players daily, monitoring to see if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. Rogers, the team’s interim MLB Players Association rep, has found his own way to connect.

“I’ve made a point to be calling people, calling teammates,” he said. “I just think with our younger group, they’re more text messagers. I figure I’d just call them and (upset) them now that they have to talk on the phone. We don’t have anything else to do.”

Not yet, at least.

 
 

But the Twins are preparing for whenever that time comes that they can return to the field.

“At the end of the day, it’s about health and taking care of your family, taking care of yourself and others,” Cruz said. “When the moment comes, we’ll be excited for baseball.”

 

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