The Twins had another player test positive for COVID-19 in recent days but it was on the minor league side. Infielder Wilfredo Tovar, who was working with Taxi Squad players at CHS Field in St. Paul, tested positive after initially testing negative in the intake process, according to Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey.
Falvey said on Sunday that Tovar, who has played in 40 big-league games with the Mets and Angels over three seasons and was a non-roster invitee to spring training with the Twins, is doing fine and has been asymptomatic. The Twins conducted contact tracing after Tovar’s test came back positive and have continued testing players working out with the Taxi Squad at the home of the St. Paul Saints.
Tovar is the fifth player from the organization to test positive for COVID-19. Big leaguers Miguel Sano and Willians Astudillo tested positive during the intake process conducted after players began arriving in Minnesota to take part in the Twins’ summer camp.
Sano and Astudillo remain in quarantine in the Twin Cities and have yet to pass back-to-back tests, meaning they can’t rejoin their teammates. “They continue to do work kind on their own,” Falvey said. “Sano, at the home he’s renting here, has a set up for himself with a tee and nets to do some work. They both are feeling good. They continue to track well, asymptomatic and all of the above on that front, but they have not cleared the protocols yet. Which, as you know, is back-to-back negative tests. At present that’s kind of where they are. They have yet to clear that.”
Favley said that minor league righthanded pitcher Edwar Colina did clear back-to-back tests, but infielder Nick Gordon has failed to do so. Colina remains in Fort Myers but is on the Taxi Squad roster and could be headed to Minnesota at some point. Gordon is on the Twins’ 40-man roster but remains at home in quarantine.
“We want to make sure he’s building back up a little bit,” Falvey said of Colina. “We can use Fort Myers as a rehab facility. … I would anticipate him coming up here relatively soon. … In Nick Gordon’s case, he has not yet cleared the protocols on that front and remains home.”
The Twins are scheduled to open their 60-game season on July 24 against the White Sox in Chicago. That is a week from Friday, so the clock is ticking. Sano is expected to be the Twins’ first baseman this season, with free agent slugger Josh Donaldson taking over at third base. The good news for the Twins is the season will start with a 30-man roster.
“The best way to describe it is we’re not going to rule anything out,” Falvey said. “We recognize as you get closer, less repetitions on the field makes it harder to be ready to go once the season starts. That said, both guys, because they are asymptomatic, because they can be doing some things on their own right now and try and stay as active as possible, we’re going to continue to try to keep them active going into this.
“My hope is that when they get here, we can evaluate it over those couple of days. We’ll probably be able to give you a clearer answer and a more direct answer over about a two- or three-day period of time when we evaluate where they are physically and from a readiness standpoint. If they’re behind, we’ll just have to deal with that. If not, and they’re ready to go, especially with an expanded roster, there could be a scenario where you could see them working their way into the games at the outset, even if they have limited time and runway to get ready for the regular season.”