MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins placed shortstop Andrelton Simmons on the COVID-19 injured list before Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Red Sox after he tested positive for the virus, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey announced.
Minnesota selected the contract of infielder JT Riddle to take Simmons’ roster spot and recalled Alex Kirilloff, the No. 2 prospect in the organization, from the alternate training site as its 27th man for the twin bill. The Twins also expect to activate Josh Donaldson (right hamstring strain) from the 10-day injured list between games.
The club was informed of Simmons’ positive test result late Tuesday night, and Falvey said the shortstop is experiencing “very mild” symptoms.
The organization spent much of Wednesday morning conducting contact tracing protocols. By the time Falvey addressed media an hour and a half before the first game, he said the Twins had cleared every player and staff member who had been tested in the initial phase of the protocols.
“Kudos to a lot of our group who did a really nice job this morning, navigating that as quickly as possible, especially in light of a day game, where everyone was on their way into the ballpark,” Falvey said. “It’s a challenge to work through that, but I feel like we’re in an OK spot right now. We just need to be really vigilant in the days to come.”
Minnesota conducted its contact tracing through a combination of personnel tracking through KINEXON devices worn in the clubhouse, and interviews of people in the environment. Falvey said the Twins conducted additional testing of the most proximate people to Simmons in the “extra scrutiny” tracing group based on that information, casting a wider net than outlined in the protocols.
The club had offered the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to their traveling party following last Thursday’s home opener at Target Field, but has not yet reached the 85% threshold necessary for a relaxation of the protocols. The 85% threshold applies to all players and staff who are considered Tier 1, including those at the alternate site.
“Our view of that is constantly reminding people of why we think it’s a good idea to get vaccinated,” Falvey said. “Our docs have recommended that, and so we continue to provide them as resources to players, to learn as much as they can about this.
“And knowing this is in our environment now, and knowing we’ve come in contact with it — it’s the first time within our environment — hopefully it will prompt maybe others to ask more questions of our medical staff to learn as much as they can to take the next steps.”