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Baldelli, Arraez return from Twins’ COVID-19 list

Manager, infielder had been out since May 5

MLB: Game One-Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins left fielder Mark Contreras (55) slides into third base from first on a single by right fielder Alex Kirilloff (not pictured) against the Houston Astros in the first game of their doubleheader Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and infielder Luis Arraez were back for the Twins on Thursday after missing five games on the team’s COVID-19 injured list.

Baldelli managed both of Thursday’s games against the Astros, and Arraez played first base in the second after being officially activated from the IL.

Baldelli, Arraez and pitcher Dylan Bundy spent three days quarantined in the Baltimore Four Seasons before flying back to Minnesota on a small medical plane Sunday. The manager said he suspected they were infected during a three-game series at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.

“It’s hard not to think the Trop was the spot,” he said. “And there were a lot of people there not feeling well when we were there.”

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“I was waiting for this moment for a long time and I was very nervous and excited,” Cano said. “I didn’t know what to do in the moment, but I’m happy that I’m here.”

The Cleveland Guardians, due in Minnesota on Friday for a three-game weekend series at Target Field, had their Wednesday game against the White Sox in Chicago postponed because of multiple positive COVID tests.

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“We’re just planning on playing,” Baldelli said. “You wish you didn’t have to deal with that after coming back, and I know Oakland was dealing with some things, I think, staff-wise, as well. I think the reality is there’s going to be a lot of teams dealing with this moving forward.”

To make room for Arraez on the 26-man active roster, the Twins optioned catcher José Godoy to Triple-A St. Paul. The team also transferred Chris Paddack from the 15-day to the 60-day injured list with right elbow inflammation.

Rare feat

Nick Gordon did something you don’t see often on Thursday.

After pitching a scoreless ninth inning in Game 1, he made a highlight reel in center field in the second inning, laying out for a diving catch to rob Jose Altuve of at least a double with two on in the second inning.

MLB: Game One-Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Nick Gordon throws to the Houston Astros in the ninth inning of the first game of their doubleheader on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis. Normally Gordon works as a position player.
Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports

Big league debuts

Although on the mound and ready to go on Wednesday, Yennier Cano had to wait a little longer to make his major league debut. He pitched the first 2.3 innings of a resumed game on Thursday as Houston completed an 11-3 victory that was suspended after three innings because of Wednesday night’s violent storms.

Cano, 28, pitched two 1-2-3 innings before giving up a solo home run to Kyle Tucker to start the sixth. He left after allowing singles to Jose Siri and Martin Maldonado, both of whom scored after Cano was replaced by Cody Stashak.

Outfielder Mark Contreras also made his big league debut, starting Thursday’s first game in left field. He hit a sacrifice fly in his first major league at-bat and scored a run after reaching on an error in the seventh.

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