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COVID-19 a constant in Twins clubhouse

Three key Twins players are now on the COVID-19 IL

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The highest-paid player on the Minnesota Twins, and 7th highest-paid in Major League Baseball, is sidelined following a positive COVID-19 test. Carlos Correa is the latest Twins player to join the COVID-19 IL. Also out right now with COVID-19 are Joe Ryan and Gilberto Celestino, two major assets to the team.

As it stands, more than a dozen MLB players are on the Injured List with COVID-19, or at least a positive test. When on this list - like any other injury - these players still get paid.

The Minnesota Twins have placed a handful of players, including manager Rocco Baldelli, on the COVID-19 injured list in the 2022 season. Gilberto Celestino and Joe Ryan, two key Twins players, now along with Correa, currently reside on this list.

Joe Ryan was the Twins opening day starter and is still considered the team’s ace. He’s 5-2 with a 2.28 ERA and 42 SO in 8 starts (43.1 innings, but really 43.333333, baseball numbers are just silly sometimes.)

Gilberto Celestino has been a star in this Minnesota Twins lineup. He’s a stellar backup centerfielder, and his bat has been hot. He’s batting .324 with a .398 obp. When he bats 9th and Arraez is leadoff, it’s a very reliable 1-2 punch once the order bats around, fun to watch.

Carlos Correa is the unsuspected hire for the Twins in many eyes, but a promising one. Correa got off to a slow start, but he is starting to look like his old self again. Before going on the COVID list he was batting .279/.344/.407. Watching him at short is a sight to see. He has a good glove, a baseball mind, and his throws to first are right on the money almost every time.

So what happens when a player goes on the COVID-19 List?

The MLB requires a player to be out for 10 days following a positive test. That can be cut short by testing negative twice on PCR tests. A PCR test, unlike the antigen tests, can determine if you have an active virus in your body better than any other test. It can detect small amounts of the virus or asymptomatic cases accurately. In other words, according to doctors, both are good, but the PCR tests are better.

When do you test?

The league no longer does random testing. If you feel sick, you test. Close contacts who are vaccinated do not have to quarantine. Unvaccinated close contacts must miss five days for quarantine. Management is aware of COVID-19 vaccination status.

The MLB COVID-19 protocol actually does not align with the current guidance from the CDC. It’s actually a stricter policy. The CDC states an infected person stay home, isolate from others for five days. Then end isolation after five full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours.

The MLB COVID-19 policy says you can continue to play if you test negative twice with a PCR test. The tests have to be taken 24 hours apart. However, it’s unlikely a player will test negative before that 10-day wait period unless they received a false positive for that first test - meaning they don’t actually have COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people who contract COVID-19 can have the detectable virus for up to three months.

It’s clear Twins players are being impacted differently by the virus. Rocco Baldelli has given updates to the best of his knowledge.

We know Dylan Bundy was pretty sick with COVID-19 because according to Rocco he was not feeling like himself yet on May 13, so he missed his scheduled start against Cleveland.

Luis Arraez was a different story. When he was activated again from the COVID-19 list, he came back that day to hit a single, double and took a walk in four plate appearances.

According to Rocco Baldelli, Carlos Correa is not feeling well but doesn’t have significant symptoms, so this is a good sign.

It’s unclear how long this will last, and it seems the MLB is taking the most cautious approach to COVID-19 compared to other professional sports. It will be interesting to see if the MLB evolves to a more lenient policy, more in line with the CDC or stays this way.

Also of note: with the Twins heading to Toronto today, players who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 will be moved to a restricted list for the series and will not get paid.