Delone Catholic High School graduate continues to train, wait for MLB return call
- Casey Lawrence wasn't put on the Twins' 60-man summer roster.
- The Delone Catholic grad is still under contract with the Twins.
- Four Twins tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend.
This isn’t how Casey Lawrence planned for his return to the major leagues.
When the Delone Catholic High School graduate signed a minor-league contract with the Minnesota Twins in January, the pitcher’s goal was to prove he belonged back in the big leagues after he spent a season in Japan.
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the league’s spring training in March and canceled the minor-league season last month, adding more hurdles to Lawrence’s road back to the majors. As Major League Baseball prepares for a return later this month, the 32-year-old Lawrence must continue to stay prepared if an opportunity arises after he was left off the Twins’ 60-man summer camp roster.
“It’s not ideal, but you gotta keep things in perspective,” said Lawrence, who has appeared in 38 major league games with a 3-3 record. “It’s not ideal for the world right now. Obviously it slows things down, but the hope is that I stay ready and when an opportunity does come you don’t miss a beat, jump right in and produce when your name is called.”
MLB teams began to report on July 1 and be tested for the coronavirus. The teams were allowed to put 60 players on their initial roster, with a number of those players not active. The nonactive players were there to fill in for injured players or those who test positive.
Saturday, Minnesota announced that four players — Miguel Sano, Willians Astudillo, Nick Gordon and Edwar Colina — tested positive for coronavirus. Colina is the only pitcher among the Twins that tested positive.
Lawrence said that he spoke with Minnesota’s assistant general manager last week and was told he was one of the final 10 players considered for the last spots on the first roster. While he was disappointed to not be headed to Minnesota this week, Lawrence continues to stay positive and prepare for a potential chance to join the squad.
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Although the minor-league season was canceled, Lawrence and the other minor leaguers continue to be paid $400 per week by the Twins. For a veteran player such as Lawrence, who has been in pro baseball for a decade, finances aren’t a major concern at the moment. Still, the right-hander commended the organization for its efforts to continue to pay young players, unlike some other teams.
“They really did preach a family-type organization and they have taken care of their own,” Lawrence said. “Which is something I don’t think everybody has done, so from that standpoint I was pretty pleased and impressed with them not bailing on a lot of guys and saving a couple bucks.”
Lawrence has a gym at his Hanover home and continues to follow the training program the Twins sent him. He also throws six days per week with his father to stay ready if a call to report to Minnesota comes.
It’s not the season he envisioned when he returned from Japan, but it’s the situation he and so many other pro players are faced with. As MLB continues to figure out its issues with testing its athletes, Lawrence will be training and waiting for the call to arrive and complete his comeback.
“It sucks not being part of the initial 60, but it is what it is,” Lawrence said. “We still gotta be ready. There’s still a lot that has to play out."
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.