The final blow came on Monday when Carlos Correa tested positive for COVID-19 during the Twins’ 7-5 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park. The shortstop has to join frontline starter Joe Ryan and backup outfielder Gilberto Celestino on the COVID injury list, and the already battered Twins roster will have to dig even deeper to set up what is likely to be a very different-looking 26-man roster in Canada .
The twins’ manager Rocco Baldelli said Correa showed symptoms on Sunday and worsened on Monday when the news broke during Minnesota’s opening game against Detroit. Correa has been vaccinated against COVID-19, Baldelli said.
“It’s something that every team in the league grapples with,” Baldelli said. “It doesn’t feel good when it’s your team going through this. It doesn’t feel like we can shake it for a while.”
Having three players out at the same time with COVID comes in light of the twins’ other injuries and the fact that baseball operations president Derek Falvey indicated on Sunday that the twins expect to have “a few” players who don’t continue A particularly challenging road trip due to Canadian government regulations prohibiting entry for players who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine. Not to mention the fact that the club are currently stuck in a stretch of 18 games in 17 days without a day off.
Correa’s positive test also comes at an awkward time for the Twins as it comes a day after the injury to club No. 1 Royce Lewis and Correa’s seemingly major-league-able backup at shortstop. Lewis had already impressed with a .300/.317/.550 line in a cameo in 12 games before sustaining a bruised right knee bone while making a catch in midfield on Sunday. The twins had moved him to various positions in both the infield and outfield to buy him playing time in the big leagues.
For now, the Twins appear poised to remain at shortstop with a combination of Jorge Polanco and Nick Gordon – although with Celestino sidelined, Gordon is also the club’s main backup midfielder. If Polanco switches to shortstop — as he did Monday — it would create a ripple effect that would likely push Luis Arraez into second place and pin Jose Miranda at first base.
“We dealt with several wrenches [in the plans] recently, and it feels like things are coming, they’re coming in bunches,” Baldelli said. “Honestly, it doesn’t change – you kind of have to be prepared for anything. Nothing should surprise you.”
Here’s a look at all the recent incidents that have led to this current situation:
Baldelli made no indication ahead of Monday’s game that either Ryan or Celestino are close to returning from the COVID IL, and in Ryan’s case the skipper noted the right-hander will likely need to get back into bullpens and ramp up his throwing program before his return, how Dylan Bundy took time to fully participate again after his own battle with COVID-19.
The Twins are given a reprieve in the sense that placing a third player on the COVID IL gives them the freedom to call on a non-roster player (one not yet on the 40-man) to fill Correa’s roster spot . You can later remove that substitute from the 40-man roster without having to subject him to outright waivers, as is normally required in such situations.
Alex Kirilloff, Mark Contreras and José Godoy are the only healthy 40-man position players at Triple-A St. Paul. Non-roster candidates for Correa’s place could be infielders Jermaine Palacios and Spencer Steer, or outfielders Jake Cave, Derek Fisher, or Cole Sturgeon.
“It’s a great loss,” Miranda said of Correa. “He is one of the main parts of the team. But we’ll just have to get through this in the few days that we won’t have him here. We’ll just keep playing as a team and do the little things.