CLEVELAND — The next time the Twins are back in Cleveland will be right after the All-Star break. But for select Twins, a return trip could come a few days earlier.
The All-Star Game will be held on July 9 at Progressive Field and the Twins have more than a couple players who have made a compelling case for inclusion. As the American League Central’s top dog and one of the top teams in the league, the Twins figure to have more than just the requisite one participant at the Midsummer Classic.
“Just off the top of my head, I’d have to say that we have a number of guys that have made — they’ve had great years,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’ve had guys that I think have had All-Star caliber years and would have a wonderful argument, a number of them, for playing back here when that All-Star Game hits for sure.”
So, who has a good case?
Let’s start with shortstop Jorge Polanco, who was fourth in MLB with a 3.7 bWAR heading into Thursday’s game. Polanco boasted a .339/.404/.590 slash line to go along with 77 hits — 17 doubles and 10 home runs among them. The Twins’ shortstop has never been an All-Star, but he said it had been an offseason goal of his and a selection would mean a lot to him.
“I feel like if I keep going like this, I’m going to be in the All-Star Game,” he said.
Jake Odorizzi with his paltry 1.96 ERA, which leads AL starting pitchers, also figures to be there. He holds an incredibly strong case for his first All-Star Game selection.
Odorizzi gave up just three runs in all of May, posting a 0.94 ERA in the month. Six of his last seven outings have been scoreless.
While those two, if they continue on as they have been, appear the closest to locks, plenty more have a strong case, including left who fielder Eddie Rosario entered the day both second in the AL in home runs (18) and RBIs (50). Taylor Rogers, C.J. Cron, Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton, Jonathan Schoop and Mitch Garver are among those who could be considered.
The first round of voting, which is underway, will close on June 21. There will then be a second phase of voting beginning on June 26 and ending the next day.
Twins announce security policy changes
The Twins announced two security policy changes Thursday aimed at helping get fans into Target Field more expediently after logjams at the gates caused complaints.
Starting with the team’s next homestand, June 11-19, fans no longer will need to empty phones, keys, wallets, etc., from their pockets as the Target Field magnetometers have been updated to account for these items.
The second policy will be implemented on July 5. Only single-compartment bags will be allowed with a maximum size of 16-inch-by-16-by-8, aimed at reducing the time it takes for security to check bags. Purses, tote bags and drawstring bags are among the types allowed in, while backpacks will not be.
“Clearly, the safety of our fans and security of our venue is our highest priority. Those objectives are always central to our never-ending review of how we can improve the driveway-to-driveway experience for our fans,” Twins president Dave St. Peter said in a release. “These changes, which are rooted in driving efficiencies within our security process, are designed to help improve ingress into Target Field, with the end result of getting our fans into the ballpark quickly and safely.”
Pineda likely to be activated today
Friday’s Twins starter is listed as TBD. But the series opener in Detroit marks the first day Michael Pineda is eligible to come off the Injured List and all signs indicate he will be activated.
Kyle Gibson, who would be lined up to start on Friday, is listed as Saturday’s starter. Pineda was placed on the IL with right knee tendinitis Devin Smeltzer has made two starts in his absence.