MINNEAPOLIS - Opening Day for the Minnesota Twins is less than 10 days away, so things are starting to ramp up at Summer Camp at Target Field.
The Twins are having another intra squad game Wednesday night, but this one will feel the most like an actual game so far with a shortened regular season starting next Friday. Both dugouts will be used, there will be full lineups and the game is being streamed on the Twins’ web site and social media channels. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m., just like most regular season games at Target Field.
Twins play-by-play voice Dick Bremer will be on the call, and Justin Morneau will have color commentary. It would be a real game, if not for players wearing all the same jerseys.
“We’re going to try to make it function like a normal game, but I’m sure we’ll look up and someone is going to run into the wrong dugout and spend a half inning in the wrong dugout or something like that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli joked Tuesday night. “It’s going to be two full rosters with lineups and we’ll stick to those lineups and let the guys hit, and that way they can also run the bases as if you would in a game. It’s going to function like a game, which is good.”
It will be the first time the Twins feature actual lineups. In previous intra squad games, there have been groups of hitters with position players in the field for multiple innings at a time.
There will be walk-up music for hitters as they come up to the plate, there will be in-game sound effects. As one Twins official put it Tuesday night, “there will be all the bells and whistles.”
Twins slugger and third baseman Josh Donaldson says he’s ready.
“I’ve enjoyed the process of kind of how we’ve been getting ready. I think it will be kind of nice to do a game-like scenario and just to kind of get some of those feels of competing. I enjoy the competing aspect of it all,” Donaldson said Tuesday night. “At some point you’ve got to start taking the training wheels off a little bit and start getting after it.”
The Twins are going to take every opportunity they can to make sure they’re ready for July 24 in Chicago. They have an American League Central Division title to defend, and there’s little room for error in a 60-game season.
Baldelli said the team will work out daily until then, and have a morning workout on July 21 before heading to Chicago. They’ll face the Cubs at Wrigley Field for an exhibition game on July 22, then players who want to can play catch at Guaranteed Rate Field the following day.
Then, it’s for real starting July 24. Donaldson says the Twins need to treat the season like they’re in a playoff race from Day 1.
“We’re trying to get ready for the season, we’re trying to make this as real as possible because let’s face it, Game 1 is going to mean a lot. Every game has a very big value to it,” Donaldson said. “Going to a 60-game schedule, we all need to be ready Game 1. These games early on need to be treated as we’re in a playoff hunt. We have to make sure that we come in every single day with our first priority of making sure we’re going out there to win the game.”