MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rows of blue suitcases lined the hallway leading into the Minnesota Twins’ clubhouse on Sunday, signs of a trip the frigid players can’t wait to take.
Three straight postponements because of snow only heightened the anticipation for this week’s series in Puerto Rico.
Instead of preparing to face the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, Minnesota took batting practice and threw bullpen sessions indoors. Players were coming and going, their thoughts turning from snow and freezing to the warmth of Puerto Rico.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) April 15, 2018
The Twins and Cleveland play Tuesday and Wednesday in San Juan.
“I was laying in bed last night and checked the weather down there,” Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. “I think it’s 87 today. We can’t get down there soon enough.”
While the weather has tormented the majors’ early-season schedule — six postponements on Sunday, 21 total this season — few teams have been hit as hard as Minnesota.
The Twins had four postponements during their initial 10-game homestand. The final three games of the four-game weekend series with Chicago were postponed as an unlikely spring blizzard hit the Twin Cities.
The series finale last weekend against Seattle has been rescheduled for May 14. The Twins have not announced new dates for the three games postponed against the White Sox.
Chicago next plays at Oakland, with Reynaldo Lopez starting Monday night at the Coliseum. Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer will follow in the White Sox rotation.
Before resuming for the two-game series in Puerto Rico with the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota will have played 11 games in the season’s first 19 days.
“You can pretty much bank on the fact early in the year there’s a good chance that you might lose a game or two,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “But when it starts to get excessive, it backs you up later in the year. You lose some of the flow that you like to have coming out of spring training, in terms of getting your players into a bit of a rhythm.
“But you can’t control it, as the old adage goes, so we’re trying to adjust the best way we can,” he said.
Part of the adjustment has meant constant changes to the rotation.
Lance Lynn, who signed late in spring training and was scheduled to start Saturday against the White Sox, is getting pushed back until April 20 at Tampa Bay. It will be 10 days between starts for Lynn.
Resetting Lynn’s schedule was made to line up Jose Berrios to start in his native Puerto Rico. Jake Odorizzi will start Tuesday’s game followed by Berrios. Lynn will be followed by Kyle Gibson in Tampa Bay.
“Sometimes we talk about our game — only the strong survive,” Molitor said of the schedule. “It’s mental toughness, and this has required a little more than normal.”
Molitor has planned an optional workout Monday in Puerto Rico. The Twins have off days on both sides of the two-game series with Cleveland and are allowed an optional workout.
“Baseball’s all about a routine, developing a routine and going about yourself every day at the park, knowing when you’re going to play and all that stuff,” Dozier said. “It does throw you for a loop, I guess, in that sense. At the same time, we make a living ad-libbing. You got to ad-lib in this game and you got to take it in stride.”