ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)Twins manager Rocco Baldelli plans to leave the team Sunday to return home to Minnesota for the birth of his child.
Baldelli said he would be in the dugout for the start of Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay but could depart before it ends. The schedule called for him to head to the clubhouse to prepare for his flight about three hours after the scheduled 1:10 p.m. EDT first pitch.
”It’s a big day,” Baldelli said. ”There’s nothing better than this and I’m incredibly excited.”
Veteran coach Bill Evers will fill in for Baldelli, who may miss a four-game series that starts Monday night at Cleveland.
”Whether we’re in the eighth inning, ninth inning or the game is over at that point, Bill will be taking over at about 4:05 and he’ll run the show,” Baldelli said
Evers is retiring after the season after 46 years in pro ball, including 23 in the Rays organization where he coached Baldelli.
”We’re losing a mountain of knowledge and feel for the game,” Baldelii said. ”I’m losing a friend, too. I’m not losing him permanently but I’m not going to be able to see him everyday, spend the time with him and rely on him in the ways that I know have and we have here as an organization.”
Evers, who resides in the Tampa Bay area, plans to travel to places like Scotland and Ireland with his wife, and spend time watching his grandchildren play Little League baseball.
”It took a lot of soul searching and a lot of conversions with my wife,” Evers said. ”It’s going to be a relaxing time. I thought about it quite a bit and I’m ready to do this.”
Evers and his wife will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary at the end of this month.
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