Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Twins News

Notes: Donaldson arrives; Twins set rotation

@dohyoungpark
February 15, 2020

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Travis Blankenhorn listened intently, nodding every few seconds. Royce Lewis stood with his arms crossed, his eyes never losing contact. Jack Reinheimer grabbed his bat and tried to mimic the motions he was seeing. In the middle stood Josh Donaldson, bat in his hands, more than

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Travis Blankenhorn listened intently, nodding every few seconds. Royce Lewis stood with his arms crossed, his eyes never losing contact. Jack Reinheimer grabbed his bat and tried to mimic the motions he was seeing.

In the middle stood Josh Donaldson, bat in his hands, more than 20 minutes into an animated, interactive lecture about his swing mechanics and timing.

When the "Bringer of Rain" reports early to Spring Training and offers his advice, the only things prospects can do are to quiet down and listen hard.

Donaldson arrived in camp on Saturday, and before he was even officially introduced to fans and the media at the CenturyLink Sports Complex, he was already hard at work in the batting cages -- hitting off a tee and imparting his knowledge to the organization's younger hitters.

Lewis is the top prospect in the Twins organization and ranked No. 9 overall by MLB Pipeline. The 20-year-old shortstop could stand to gain the most from an intensive camp of work with Donaldson, as he uses a similar swing that begins with a big leg kick to start his timing mechanism. Catcher Ryan Jeffers, the Twins' No. 9 prospect, was also in the huddle for a while, along with Blankenhorn (No. 22) and Reinheimer, a 27-year-old non-roster invitee to camp.

When Donaldson made his first appearance as a member of the Twins after he signed a four-year, $92 million contract during the offseason, he vowed to spend his time and energy making his impact felt at all levels of the organization. It barely took hours for him to back those words up with his actions upon arriving at Hammond Stadium.

"I'm really looking forward to not just helping this organization on the field, but helping this organization as a whole," Donaldson said at his introductory news conference in January. "Developing younger guys, looking at each and every way that we can to succeed on an everyday basis.

"There's plenty of information out there for younger guys, but what it takes is guys that understand the information to help get the message across to them and continue to help these guys develop through their tenure as a Minnesota Twin."

Twins set pitching rotation for start of Grapefruit League play
Kenta Maeda is expected to make his Twins debut on Feb. 24 against the Red Sox, according to the tentative pitching schedule announced by manager Rocco Baldelli on Saturday.

Randy Dobnak will start the Twins' scrimmage against the University of Minnesota on Friday, and left-hander Devin Smeltzer will follow in the Grapefruit League opener against the Pirates on Feb. 22 at LECOM Park in Bradenton. José Berríos will start the home opener on Feb. 23 against the Blue Jays before Maeda toes the rubber the following day.

Odds and ends
Sergio Romo will be sidelined for a few days as he deals with "the most minor of minor left shoulder strains," according to Baldelli, who demonstrated minimal concern that it would be an issue that lingered beyond the immediate future.

• Baldelli, on the new rule stipulating he only has 20 seconds to challenge a call on the field (down from 30 seconds last season):

"We might see some situations where plays are challenged that are clearly plays that when you see the replay three or four or five times, you probably shouldn't challenge. But at some point, you have to just make a decision. I think in some instances, some teams may just make the decision that they're just not going to challenge plays that they're not sure about. In 20 seconds, it's hard to be sure."

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.