In a spring that opened with a surprising lack of crippling injuries, the Twins are now faced with perhaps their greatest health challenge ever, as a mysterious virus swept through the team's Fort Myers spring training complex on Thursday morning, causing mild flu-like symptoms and, in a more troubling development, every single throwing arm of every player in the Twins system to fall right the fuck off.
"After the Sano injury, we were all hoping that would be the worst of it," said Twins assistant GM Rob Antony. "Of course, this organization knows that hope is a four-letter word. So, when I got the call from the clubhouse that everyone's arms were falling off, I was like, 'Sure. Makes sense.' What would've been surprising is if it wasn't their throwing arms. But we're the Twins. Of course it's their good arms."
Witnesses say the situation on the Hammond Stadium field, where Twins players were posing for pictures with fans from a local orphanage, was chaotic.
"These kids are on the field, huge smiles," said Terri Glenn, a volunteer at the Lee County Children's Home. "They've gone through a lot in their young lives, so this was a treat for them. Then, well..." Glenn's voice trailed off before she gathered herself to continue. "Our youngest orphan, Noah, gives a little fist bump to (Twins second baseman) Brian Dozier, and Dozier's arm just plops, right there at Noah's feet. Dozier's screaming, Noah's crying, and there's just so much blood, most of it hitting Noah square in the face."
"Orphans were on the field?" said Antony. "Yep, that's about right. Well played, Satan or whoever. Well played."
"Came through the locker room like a bolt of lightning," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "Sitting there in my office, I start hearing these 'THUNK THUNK' sounds, then guys screaming. Opened the door, saw these geysers of blood shooting out from the guys' shoulders and a bunch of arms laying on the floor. I shut the door, cracked a Silver Bullet (Coors Light), and put some Merle Haggard on my tape deck.
"On the plus side, I guess I don't have to worry about any of my pitchers punching a wall with their throwing hand anymore."
Some players are making severed limb lemons into severed limb lemonade, too.
"I'd by lying if I said I wasn't kinda bummed when my left arm fell off," said Twins closer Glen Perkins. "But it's been kinda fun to pick it up with my right arm, dip my pointy finger in Gatorade, and give Wet Willies to guys who are three or four feet down the bench. They're like, 'Ahhhhhh,' but I'm two, three guys away. 'Who the hell did that?' they'll say. Not Perk, he's way over there. So that's pretty cool."
Medical officials say that they have quarantined the area, but are stumped as to the nature of the virus or why it only affected Twins players, not team officials, fans, or opposing players. An earlier report saying Twins radio commentator Dan Gladden also lost his throwing arm was incorrect. It's been determined that he got in a heated argument with an alligator who he thought was disrespecting him at roughly the same time as the virus impacted the area.