NORTH PORT, Fla. — Come this weekend, the Twins are expecting to have their full team together for the first time this spring.

The Twins have been short from the start as pitcher J.A. Happ tested positive for COVID-19, some players were slowed by extreme weather conditions and multiple players dealt with visa issues. Happ has since tested negative for the virus and reported to camp, as has every other player.

Except one.

Andrelton Simmons, the last remaining player to report to camp, has made it to Fort Myers after being held up with visa issues in Curacao. The Twins are now waiting for him to clear the intake testing process, which requires a negative COVID-19 test, before he can join their group.

“We’re going to get Andrelton squared away with his testing, get him cleared, get him on the field,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I think our original plan of having him on the field this weekend is still in the cards.”

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Baldelli said Simmons is now getting settled into his new surroundings. The Twins signed the 31-year-old shortstop to a one-year, $10.5 million deal this offseason.

“(I’m) really looking forward to seeing him just get out there, put some cleats on, run around and take some ground balls at shortstop,” Baldelli said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to. I still think it’s coming pretty soon.”

Baldelli is not the only one looking forward to his arrival. Top prospect Royce Lewis, who is sidelined after undergoing surgery on his ACL, has talked repeatedly about his excitement to watch Simmons in camp. And his former Angels teammate, Matt Shoemaker, is looking forward to pitching in front of him again.

“Having him behind me just excites me through the roof. He gets to balls that you shouldn’t get to, and that’s what's so cool about him,” Shoemaker said earlier this spring. “There’s a play, ball’s hit, ‘Oh, that’s in the hole, nobody can get there,’ and he’s there. His instincts are awesome.”

Pitching debuts

Shoemaker and Randy Dobnak both turned in scoreless 2 1/3-inning efforts Friday in their Grapefruit League debuts. The Twins dropped the seven-inning game 4-0 to the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park, managing just three hits — two from outfielder Keon Broxton.

Notably, the two pitchers faced off against some of the best hitters in the game, as the Braves trotted out Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, last year’s NL MVP Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna.

“I thought our pitchers threw the ball well against a really good offensive group on the other side,” Baldelli said. “I think there were some real positives there.”

Shoemaker was perfect against the seven batters he faced, and said he felt both physically and mentally great. Dobnak gave up three hits but Baldelli praised his slider and was happy with the work Dobnak got in against the Braves.


The Twins and Red Sox plan to play just five innings on Saturday, a decision Baldelli said was made to “get guys off their feet for a day.” … Michael Pineda will make his Grapefruit League pitching debut in that game. … Former Twins reliever Sam Dyson, now a free agent, has been handed a year-long suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.