Donaldson hopes to stay healthy in second season with Twins

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MINNEAPOLIS — The year-ago buzz across the Minnesota Twins created by signing Josh Donaldson to the franchise’s richest free agent contract was shortly quelled by the worldwide pandemic that pared down the schedule and emptied ballparks.

Then, only one week into the abbreviated season, the third baseman’s problematic proper calf flared up. Donaldson missed a full month, returned for the stretch run and aggravated the muscle proper earlier than the postseason. His debut with the Twins was all of 28 video games.

This spring coaching, the 35-year-old has a contemporary begin for what he and the workforce are optimistic about being an entire season of energy hitting, affected person at-bats and very good protection on the scorching nook.

Donaldson, in a video convention name Tuesday with reporters after the workforce’s first full-squad exercise in Fort Myers, Florida, stated he felt like his restricted motion was a “fluke ordeal” attributable to the four-month coronavirus pause previous to the midsummer restart.

“As powerful as it’s for me to form of say this, , I want I used to be a robotic and I want I may very well be 100% and let you know that I’m nice, however on the finish of the day, it’s a sport and it’s a fairly quick sport,” Donaldson stated, “and generally issues occur.”

Three months in the past, he and his companion, Briana, welcomed their daughter, Aubrey, a life enrichment far transcending any exercise routine. Nonetheless, Donaldson made time to deal with renewing energy in his legs, bettering operating mechanics and mobility and sustaining tender tissue well being with the apparent aim of avoiding one other maddening prolonged absence for a pressure or a pull.

“Attempting to get extra hip drive and utilizing my hips to speed up via the actions to the place it will probably take strain off of my calves,” Donaldson stated.

The Twins have an evolving plan to maintain their skilled slugger, slick fielder and emotional chief contemporary coming into April — and, they hope, October.

“He’s in nice form. He strikes round nice,” supervisor Rocco Baldelli stated.

Being pressured to look at from the dugout because the Twins have been swept by Houston in a two-game wild card sequence — extending the franchise’s main league document streak to 18 straight postseason losses — was a irritating sufficient expertise that he’s adamant about not repeating it.

This yr, Donaldson can have a new shortstop subsequent to him in Andrelton Simmons, giving the Twins a probably impeccable tandem on protection on the left facet if each gamers can keep on the sphere.

“I’m positively excited to play alongside of him. I feel that we’ll be capable to make some good performs,” Donaldson stated.

Simmons, attributable to a journey documentation challenge, was one in every of 4 gamers on the 75-man checklist for the beginning of spring coaching unavailable for the primary exercise. Beginning pitcher J.A. Happ, who examined optimistic for COVID-19 upon arrival, was the opposite notable absence.

The primary-day introductions, shows and speeches have been totally different this time attributable to virus protocols, delivered by way of microphone to permit for correct spacing between gamers, however the message to the two-time defending AL Central champions didn’t change.

“It’s clearly a really optimistic day. I feel there’s added optimism simply figuring out what sort of workforce we’ve. We have now once more every thing we might presumably wish to go on the market and win a World Collection, frankly. Immediately’s most likely the one day we’re going to say that out loud,” Baldelli stated, “as a result of now we’ve to go on the market and play.”

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