Injuries are having a major impact across baseball, as teams scramble to field healthy rosters and make constant transactions with their minor league affiliates. No team has been more affected than the Minnesota Twins, who announced Thursday that they are placing their entire 40-man roster on the 10-day injured list.
“We were almost halfway there already,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. “And given how banged up our quote-unquote healthy guys are, it felt like the right move.”
To take their place, the Twins are relying on a forgotten World War I-era rule that allowed teams to backfill rosters with “strapping farmhands, eccentrics, spinsters, and gifted children from the area as our stout young lads take it to the Kaiser” in an emergency.
Sources say Major League Baseball leadership is furious, but their hands are tied.
“It was only meant to apply when players got drafted or volunteered for military service,” said a source close to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “We now realize the vague wording gives teams like Minnesota some wiggle room. Unfortunately, the rule is very specific about the only person who can nullify the rule: Woodrow Wilson, who has died.”
The Twins are said to be scouting local high schools, rec centers, and playgrounds for “big kids” who could handle the physical rigors of professional baseball and give Minnesota a chance to compete in the wide-open AL Central.
“One of our scouts saw a kid named Cotter playing pick-up basketball at a park in northeast Minneapolis,” said Baldelli. “He was a good 4-5 inches taller than all these rickety dad types he was playing against. Just dominating them. Long story short he’s playing first base Friday and Saturday. He has Confirmation at his church on Sunday so we might build in a rest day, we’ll see how things develop.”
As for why the team is not using their own minor leaguers, Baldelli was uncharacteristically blunt.
“Fuel costs make all these call-ups crazy expensive, and a lot of these kids already have bus passes or a parent with a Honda Odyssey for carpooling. Also, the rest of the month we play Cleveland, Oakland, Kansas City, and Detroit. If we fielded a team of dogs in people clothes, we might go .500.”