In the early hours of Tuesday morning — 3:44 Cleveland time, to be exact — Twins acting manager Bill Evers’ phone lit up with a text message that he had been waiting on for the past couple days.
Shortly before that, Rocco and Allie Baldelli had become parents for the first time, welcoming baby Louisa Sunny Baldelli into the world. Louisa weighed in at six pounds, eight ounces, and Evers said both Allie and baby Louisa are “doing wonderful.”
“It was awesome,” Evers said. “It brings tears to my eyes knowing that he texted me right after the baby was born, so it’s pretty cool.”
The Twins manager left the team during the eighth inning of Sunday’s game in St. Petersburg, Fla., to catch a flight back to Minneapolis and attend the birth.
“There’s nothing better than this,” Baldelli said before he left. “I’m incredibly excited.”
In his place, Evers has been leading the Twins, helping guide the team to a win both on Sunday and Monday. Baldelli is expected to rejoin the Twins later this week, most likely when the team returns to town after its road trip in Cleveland concludes.
“My educated guess is probably Friday we’ll see him taking over the helm of the Minnesota Twins and me sitting alongside him, smiling,” Evers said.
Baldelli isn’t the only one in the Twins’ clubhouse who spent this week eagerly awaiting the birth of a baby girl. Brent and Allie Rooker also are expecting their first child. The outfielder was in the starting lineup on Tuesday but is expected to take paternity leave soon.
“We’re still waiting to hear,” Evers said. “(Trainer) Mike Salazar has the phone number for when everything’s underway, and then Rook will be on his way back to Minneapolis.”
The Twins’ front office has a challenge staring it in the face this offseason: Rebuild the rotation.
One guy the Twins feel will be part of that is Bailey Ober, and to ensure he’s healthy and strong for next season, the Twins have been carefully monitoring his workload.
Ober, who has had injury issues in previous seasons, has already blown past the number of innings he has thrown in a professional season, and the Twins’ cautious handling of him was even more pronounced in Monday’s start — four innings, 59 pitches. He’s not sure if that’s going to be the norm for the rest of this season.
“I’m kind of prepared for whatever. They haven’t told me too much going down the road,” Ober said. “They just kind of let me know going into this week, ‘This is what we’re thinking, this is what we’re going to do.’ So, (I’m) looking forward to having those conversations. … But for right now, I’m going to be focusing on one day at a time.”
In addition to limiting his workload, the Twins have inserted another pitcher in the rotation for the time being, which also will limit how often Ober (and every other starter) is on the mound.
Pitching coach Wes Johnson said Tuesday the Twins don’t yet know whether they’ll shut Ober down at some point this season or just continue to shorten his starts and carefully watch him.
“We’re constantly in contact with (team physician) Dr. Camp and, obviously, (head athletic trainer) Michael Salazar, talking to those two guys consistently. We’re monitoring his stuff,” Johnson said. “I’m at a point right now where we have a pretty decent plan for Bailey we think, for at least the next week or two. But that could change if we see stuff tick down or something. That’s what you’re really locked into now besides what Dr. Camp and Michael Salazar.”