MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins postponed their series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday because of inclement weather, the second straight game they had washed out at Target Field.
The Twins announced the decision in the early afternoon, more than six hours before the scheduled first pitch, and slotted the makeup for Thursday as part of a day-night doubleheader.
The Twins had a day off on Monday, meaning they haven't played since Saturday afternoon.
Coaches and players came to the ballpark to work out a little bit and try to stay limber, while a cold, wet system stayed stuck over Minnesota with a forecast to linger well into the week.
Temperatures have been in the high 30s and low 40s, with steady rain falling since Saturday night and a bit of snow mixed in at times, too.
"They feel like they haven't been out there in a year, and it's only been a few days," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, adding: "Mother Nature's winning right now."
The predicted high for Wednesday was 45 degrees, with the chance of precipitation pegged at 70 percent, so that game could be in trouble, too.
"Mother Nature is what Mother Nature is. That's one of those many aspects of life and baseball that you can't do anything about," said right-hander Kyle Gibson, who was supposed to start on Sunday, and on Tuesday, and will now take the mound on Wednesday opposite Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke.
"You hope that we can step right back into it and get into a flow," Gardenhire said.
Well, if the weather won't relent, there's always an NHL playoff game to watch. The Wild will play at Colorado in Game 7 of their first-round series on Wednesday night.
"I'm going to challenge something early and get thrown out of the game and come in here and watch hockey," Gardenhire joked in his office.
The Dodgers, who were to begin a nine-game road trip, weren't available for comment. They were scheduled to start Dan Haren on Wednesday and Josh Beckett on Thursday, but their rotation for the reshuffled series was yet to be determined.
The Twins picked Mike Pelfrey for the original game on Thursday afternoon, but Gardenhire said they hadn't determined the starter for the makeup game on Thursday night.
Ricky Nolasco's turn would be next, but teams are allowed to call up a 26th player for doubleheaders. So a Triple-A pitcher could make a spot start if either or both teams wanted to avoid using Greinke and/or Gibson on short rest this Sunday.
This was the 11th postponed game for the Twins in five seasons at Target Field, six of which have been over the past two Aprils. Their scheduled series finale on Sunday against the Tigers was pushed to either August or September when the Tigers make their return trips.
Rescheduling the Dodgers would be far more difficult, because this is their only planned visit. The next common day off for the teams is May 19, when the Dodgers would have to make a one-day stop between series in Arizona and New York.
There are only two other mutual openings on the 2014 schedule outside of the All-Star break, but those would require the Dodgers (July 28) and Twins (August 25) to play 24 straight days. The collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from being scheduled to play more than 20 straight days.
If the Dodgers are forced to make a return trip, they'll probably have Clayton Kershaw with them.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who has been on the disabled list for the first time in his career with a back muscle injury since winning the team's season opener, will make his second minor league rehabilitation start on Wednesday for Double-A Chattanooga, the Dodgers announced on Monday.
Kershaw said over the weekend he felt ready to return, but the team preferred to be cautious with their $215 million ace. Kershaw pitched five innings on Saturday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga.