Baldelli, 2 Twins players test positive for COVID

Bundy, Arraez also sidelined; Kepler returns to lineup

May 5th, 2022

BALTIMORE -- The Twins are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. Manager Rocco Baldelli and two players tested positive for the virus prior to the team’s series finale Thursday against the Orioles in Baltimore.

Bench coach Jayce Tingler will serve as acting manager in Baldelli’s place. Baldelli tested positive after Wednesday’s 9-4 loss and was experiencing minor symptoms, Tingler said.

“He seems to be doing very well,” Tingler said.

Right-hander and infielder Luis Arraez also tested positive, Tingler confirmed. Bundy started Wednesday’s loss, while Arraez started two of the first three games of this mid-week series. Baldelli, Bundy and Arraez will need to remain quarantined in Baltimore until they produce negative tests on consecutive days, per MLB protocol. They must wait two days after testing positive to be tested again.

“Hectic is a good word,” Tingler said, when asked to describe the last 24 or so hours. “We’ve been through these types of scenarios the past few years. The toughest thing on days like this is getting to 7:05, getting to the game.”

The Twins are not preparing any corresponding roster moves by first pitch Thursday, but they will need reinforcements by the time they return to Target Field to begin a nine-game homestead Friday against the A’s. Thursday’s game is the last of a seven-game road trip through Baltimore and St. Petersburg, where flu-like symptoms began surfacing in the Twins' clubhouse, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

The team is also dealing with a separate stomach virus circulating the clubhouse, which forced  from Tuesday’s victory and kept Kepler out of the lineup Wednesday. Kepler tested negative for COVID-19 and returned to the lineup Thursday, batting fourth and playing right field.

This is the Twins’ second outbreak in two years. The team had two games against the Angels in Anaheim postponed in April 2021 after several members of their traveling party tested positive.

Timing and the Twins' current pitching depth should minimize the short-term impact of losing Bundy, who could theoretically return in time to make his next start. The club was already planning on giving righty Josh Winder another turn in the rotation and could get Sonny Gray back from the injured list by the end of next week. Minnesota also has an off-day Monday, which should help.

Losing Arraez, their leading hitter, is more of a blow to Minnesota’s depth chart. A natural second baseman, Arraez was getting regular reps at first for the first time this season with Miguel Sanó (knee surgery) and Alex Kirilloff (right wrist soreness) sidelined. Kirilloff is six games into a rehab assignment at Triple-A; otherwise, the team’s lone depth at the position is recently promoted rookie Jose Miranda, a natural third baseman.