MINNEAPOLIS — A heavy snowstorm hit Hennepin County on the second weekend of January, blanketing the Kentucky bluegrass of Target Field in white.
Oops, did I say January? I meant April. As in Friday, Saturday and now Sunday — three days in a row that scheduled games between the White Sox and Twins were undone in a hail of snowflakes. Not to mention hail itself. And some really cold rain.
“They didn’t miss their forecast, let’s put it that way,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said.
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The news about Sunday’s postponement came late Saturday afternoon, which should tell you how nasty conditions were. Will the Sox ever play again? The answer to that pressing question is nowhere to be found in this “One Through Nine”:
1. Out of order: The Sox are planning to start Reynaldo Lopez — who originally was scheduled to pitch here on Friday — in Monday’s opener in Oakland. That is, assuming they can get out of Minneapolis.
“To say I’m not concerned about that, I would be lying,” manager Rick Renteria said early Saturday evening.
Would it be easier at this point to simply cancel the season?
Slated to follow Lopez in the three-game series against the A’s are Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with James Shields and Lucas Giolito lined up behind them. In other words, though everyone has been pushed back a few days, the rotation order remains unchanged.
2. On his grind: Lucas Giolito was the losing pitcher in Thursday’s series opener, but he’s in a positive frame of mind after fighting his way out of a few gnarly jams and working into the seventh inning.
“I’m just going out there and the main word is ‘grind,’ ” he said. “Just grinding as much as I can. I’m looking forward to my next start. I’m constantly looking to the future. That’s the biggest thing is looking to get that opportunity to go back out there and put it all together.”
3. Snow, thank you: Has fifth-year veteran Jose Abreu grown to appreciate the little things about a cold Midwestern day like seeing his breath or, say, going numb in his extremities? Has the Cuban slugger at least gotten used to playing in crummy weather?
“No, not at all,” he said through an interpreter. “It’s really difficult to get used to this weather. All the people who are involved in this business are trying to grind these first two weeks because the weather has been really bad. It’s something that we have to deal with.”
4. The truth, uncovered: And now, let’s all shake our fists at the Populous architectural firm for building a baseball stadium without a roof in Minnesota. Or maybe we should blame the Twins, the county and the state legislature for choosing not to pony up the estimated $100 million it would’ve cost to furnish the joint with a retractable roof.
Then again, we could just chill. Target Field is nice a ballpark as there is when it’s, you know, open for business.
5. Just asking: Anybody know if the Vikings are playing at home this weekend?
6. No gear fear here: Welington Castillo probably will be back in the lineup Monday, but don’t tell that to emergency catcher Tyler Saladino. Since Tuesday, when Castillo left a game with soreness in his knee, the infielder has been catching side sessions and even warming up pitchers before innings.
Saladino, who hasn’t caught in a game since before high school, was lounging around in the visitors’ clubhouse at Target Field while clad in full catcher’s gear — an unusual sight, indeed.
“I just haven’t put it on in so long that it feels good,” he said. “I like it.”
7. Come to think of it: Why is it bad weather is always referred to as “inclement,” yet never in the history of mankind has a nice day been described as “clement”? It’s a word. Look it up. (I had to.) Am I the only one who’s suddenly reminiscing about former Cubs pitcher Matt Clement? This is how the mind of a madman works.
8. Now that’s a groundskeeper: Getting snowed out for a weekend is an in-season first for Renteria, though he recalls a minor-league field in Portland, Maine, that was covered in snow, costing the teams there a game. So what did the hometown Sea Dogs do?
“They brought in helicopters, put fuel out there and tried to burn it all off,” he said.
God bless America.
“This is the big leagues,” he said. “We don’t do that here.”
9. Let’s make up: According to the Twins, more information will come early in the week on when and where the three postponed games against the Sox will be made up. The teams do have a mutual day off June 4 before their series at Target Field, so that day almost certainly will be in the mix. Unless, of course, it’s still snowing.