TORONTO — Gilberto Celestino didn’t have the ability to do much in baseball activities while he was home in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. But he did get a chance to play one of his other favorite games: Call of Duty.
Did it get better?
“Yes, I did,” said the outfielder. “I practiced a lot.”
Celestino, who was placed on the disabled list for COVID-19 on May 27, officially came off the list on Saturday. To make room on the roster, the Twins returned Chi Chi Gonzalez, who started Friday, to Triple-A. Gonzalez will remain with the Twins on the taxi crew while he is in Toronto.
“I felt like it was more than a week,” Celestino said. “It was tough, especially the way he was playing, but here we are.”
Celestino was hitting .324 when he contracted COVID-19, and he looks like a completely different player from his rookie year a season ago when he debuted after being rushed to the majors out of necessity.
The 23-year-old said he dealt with body aches, congestion, heaviness and tiredness while outside with COVID-19, but said he doesn’t have any lingering symptoms. He was late in the Twins’ 12-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday, and had an eighth-inning hit.
“First day or two or three for a lot of guys, I think dealing with this, both our guys and other teams, is different,” said manager Rocco Baldelli, who had COVID-19 last month. “You’re getting back on your feet and the game may feel a little different. Your body may feel a little different than it normally does. But ultimately, I think now is the time for him and he’s ready.”
Celestino is the first of three Twins who recently tested positive for COVID-19 to return. Starting pitcher Joe Ryan, who tested positive before Celestino, and shortstop Carlos Correa, who tested positive afterward, still remain on the disabled list.
Gio Urshela and Kyle Garlick, who left Friday night’s win over the Blue Jays with injuries, watched from the sidelines Saturday.
Urshela sprained the midarch of her foot trying to prevent a toe-off. While he initially stayed in the game, the third baseman said he felt he began to harden shortly afterward and was eventually removed.
Baldelli said Urshela “was going to be fine” and available for anything the Twins might need from him on Saturday, though the Twins preferred to stay away from him, which they did.
Garlick, who has a strained left hamstring, still felt some tension in his leg, Baldelli said. The Twins expected to spend the next two days without starting it. That, along with a day off on Monday, would give them a little more time to make a decision about his status.
“I think I’ll wait and see before I can really comment one way or the other,” Baldelli said when asked if Garlick might need a stint on the disabled list. “It just happened. We don’t know exactly where he sits. He’s walking. I don’t think he has a limp or anything like that. We’ll see how the next few days go.”
WHO GOES FIRST?
Hugely down on Saturday, Baldelli took the opportunity to get a couple of his players off the ground. In the process, he also brought in catcher Gary Sanchez to pinch hit and eventually play first base, a position in which he has limited experience.
Before Saturday, Sanchez had played just three combined innings there in parts of two major league games, both in 2017 with the New York Yankees. On Saturday, he showed up there in the ninth inning and made a play, fielding a ball and throwing it to reliever Juan Minaya.
“(He) could find himself at first base, so it’s not the worst thing in the world to get him there for an inning or two just to get him there,” Baldelli said.