Notes: Polanco productive; Twins tickets

March 22nd, 2021

There were large swaths of the last two seasons in which was playing through pain, as attested by his need for surgery on his right ankle in consecutive offseasons. This recent procedure to remove a bone spur and bone chip seems to have done the trick -- and his health showed on the field in Monday's 4-2 win over the Braves, during which he lined a double down the right-field line and made two rangy plays at second base.

"[After] this surgery, it's the best feeling I've had," Polanco said last week.

The second-inning double was significant not only for its exit velocity -- 105.2 mph -- but also because it came from the left side of the plate, which is where Polanco had mostly felt the impacts of the painful ankle last season. He has said that he finally feels like himself at the plate again, and the results have followed in an 8-for-26 (.308) spring with a double, homer and six walks.

Polanco has traditionally been more effective as a left-handed hitter, and improving upon his uncharacteristic .227/.287/.318 line from that side last season should help him recoup some of his lost statistics.

Polanco's healthy ankle was also on display when he ranged far to his left for a sprinting, tumbling catch on a soft line drive by Cristian Pache in the fourth inning and again an inning later for a tough snag against Austin Riley.

"It's fantastic to see him be able to take the field on a regular basis and not be hampered with things," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "And he never complains. He always wants to play, even when he's not at full strength. But man, it is great to see him out there. I think he's happy being able to take the field feeling so good."

Tickets for April home games go on sale Thursday
Circle this Thursday on your calendar, because it will mark the opportunity for fans around Twins Territory to purchase tickets to the first regular-season home games at Target Field since 2019.

Tickets for the first 17 scheduled home games of the 2021 season, from the April 8 home opener against the Mariners through the May 6 contest against the Rangers, will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT through and the MLB Ballpark app. Sales for the home opener will be capped at four tickets per buyer, with a limit of 20 for all subsequent home games in this window.

The Twins will open the 2021 season with a maximum capacity of 10,000 at Target Field, according to state guidelines established by Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health.

As has been the case at Hammond Stadium for Spring Training, tickets will only be sold in pods of two to four contiguous seats, with a minimum distance of six feet between pods. Only one buyer can purchase tickets within each pod. The Twins have also partnered with organizations like Venuetize and 3M to facilitate touchless ticketing, ingress and egress, and concessions solutions around the Target Field experience.

"I was fortunate enough to be able to attend our games in 2020 in a ballpark that had no fans, and as much as I loved watching our team play, I found the environment to be soulless, and I never really wanted to experience it again," Twins president Dave St. Peter said earlier this offseason.

The club will announce their plans for tickets at subsequent home games at a later date as the COVID-19 and vaccination situations evolve both in Minnesota and around the nation.

Will Twins pitchers hit this spring?
Atlanta starting pitcher Kyle Wright took two at-bats in Monday's game to prepare for hitting during the regular season, and there's a good chance that Kenta Maeda was watching jealously from somewhere.

Considering that the Twins will open their regular-season schedule at a National League ballpark in Milwaukee, would Baldelli consider letting Maeda, José Berríos and others take some swings during Spring Training?

"I don't think so," Baldelli said. "I think we're OK with all of that. I'm looking forward to seeing these guys out there. I just don't know if it's truly worth putting our guys out there in a spot where the benefits might not be what we think they might be."

Baldelli pointed out that the Twins' pitchers are preparing for only a handful of at-bats each season -- if that -- and that the injury risk associated with live plate appearances just wouldn't be worthwhile. Twins hurlers, he said, would mainly focus on bunting work on the side and take a few swings to get ready for those at-bats at American Family Field.

Up next
When the Twins last faced the Pirates this spring, Baldelli welcomed Pirates skipper Derek Shelton back to Hammond Stadium by playing a video clip on the scoreboard of an ejection incident involving Shelton. Will the former Twins bench coach have anything in store for Baldelli when Minnesota treks north to Bradenton, Fla., for the clubs' second meeting of the spring? Right-hander Griffin Jax will lead a group of non-roster pitchers for the Twins in the 12:05 p.m. CT matchup.