Twins make restricted list moves for Toronto trip


Twins make restricted list moves for Toronto trip

The twins didn’t officially give a reason for the move, but Kepler, Pagán and Thielbar confirmed to the media that they weren’t able to join the Toronto club because they weren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, as required by Canadian federal law in the country enter, while sources indicated that this was also the reason for Megill’s absence.

“I mean, I think everyone in the clubhouse respects where we stand,” Thielbar said. “It’s a good group of people. Nobody gets defensive. We’ve had talks about it and everything. It’s been fine. I’m just saying that. I don’t think there’s going to be a crack in the clubhouse or anything.”

In corresponding moves, the Twins selected the contracts of Triple-A St. Paul right-handers Chi Chi González, Ian Hamilton and Jharel Cotton and recalled St. Paul outfielder Mark Contreras. González was included in the rotation to begin Friday’s series opener against the Blue Jays.

A source indicated that the trio of players who were not on the 40-man roster are free to be relegated to the minor leagues and removed from the roster at a later date, with no outright waivers.

The moves come at a time when the twins have already had heavy rosters and power struggles, losing four of five games in Detroit to begin their road trip. Opening day starter Joe Ryan and superstar shortstop Carlos Correa remain sidelined at the COVID IL while Sonny Gray, Josh Winder, Danny Coulombe, Cody Stashak, Jorge Alcala, Miguel Sanó and others are out through injury.

The players who spoke to the media indicated that there had been open discussions in the clubhouse about the situation in the run-up to the trip. Pagán and Kepler did not elaborate on why they decided not to get vaccinated, while Thielbar pointed out that a previous adverse reaction to a vaccine played a role in his decision.

Pagán said he reached out to every player in the clubhouse to apologize for his absence and explain his decision.

“I feel like I’m letting the team down because I can’t leave,” Pagán said. “But ultimately I made a decision that I felt was best for my health and for my family. I know there will be people who will be very angry with me for having this opinion and this attitude. That’s okay too.

“I feel like I had to make a choice and they also have a choice as to whether or not they’re going to be mad at me. So that’s fine. I understand that. I know it’s part of the territory. I explained it to anyone who asked me, and I’m not afraid to answer questions.”

“There’s nothing we can do about it at this point, so we’ll take care of it,” said Thielbar. “It’s no fun. I don’t want to be separated from the boys but it’s a decision I made and we have to live with it for now.”

The absence of the affected players will leave the bullpen particularly understaffed as Pagán and Thielbar were two of the club’s more leveraged arms, while Megill was also effective in a shorter stint at the big league club.

Jhoan Duran, Tyler Duffey and Joe Smith are likely to rely more heavily on leverage situations, while Griffin Jax could be asked to intervene in more significant situations late in the games as well.

“I think it’s sad that I can’t join the team, especially now that we’ve lost a few games,” said Kepler. “Everyone has to be together. It is sad.”

The restricted players will train at Target Field until their teammates return after the three games in Toronto. Kepler will have a chance to treat and rest his sore quads ahead of the upcoming homestand against the Yankees and Rays.

“We are aware of the COVID vaccination situation,” said right-hander Chris Archer, who is part of the group traveling on to Toronto. “The guys who don’t go, we’ve known all along. So we’re just going to adjust and plan accordingly. Good teams can overcome a little bit of adversity and I think we will.”

You May Also Like