CHICAGO — Willians Astudillo is one big step closer to a return.
Astudillo has registered two negative tests after testing positive for COVID-19 during the intake process and has been given the go-ahead to rejoin his teammates.
Astudillo was sidelined for all of Summer Camp but will now join the Twins’ group at CHS Field in St. Paul to get himself ramped up for the season.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said there is no timeline for the utilityman at this point until they are able to see Astudillo and assess his readiness.
“We need to evaluate him first and see where we’re at and let him just get going. Because when he finally is healthy, we’re going to need him to catch, we’re going to need him to move around the field and be feeling good doing it,” Baldelli said.
The Twins went through a similar process with Miguel Sano, who also tested positive upon intake testing. Sano was able to come back near the end of Summer Camp and get some at-bats before the season started, but said his swing still wasn’t 100 percent at the time the season began.
Astudillo could potentially take longer than Sano to ramp back up after having a longer absence away from baseball activities. Sano returned to the team on July 15.
“Until you actually see a guy get out there and put him through a full day or even a partial day, see how he comes back the next day and what he’s capable of doing, and then the day after that, you really get a good feel for a guy after the first, I’d say, two or three days,” Baldelli said. “And then you can probably set up a good plan at that point.”
Byron Buxton, who had driven down to Chicago to be with his teammates during the pregame ceremony on Opening Day, drove back to the Twin Cities and is getting more work in with the CHS crew, Baldelli said.
“He’s going to move his legs and be on an entire movement and running program and jump into all of his stuff and we will see him back when we get back,” Baldelli said.
Buxton, who sprained his left foot during Summer Camp, was not put on the Injured List and could rejoin the team at any time as a result. Baldelli said the home opener on Tuesday is “definitely an option,” for Buxton.
“When we get back home and we start playing baseball in Minneapolis, we plan on seeing Buck out there,” Baldelli said.
Jake Odorizzi, who is on the Injured List with a sore upper back, has been stretching out again, Baldelli said. Odorizzi was at Target Field on Sunday, and the Twins have said they do not expect him to miss much time.
“He should be out there throwing a bullpen very soon and we’ll let him face some hitters and then we will see him back out there,” Baldelli said.