The Minnesota Twins are putting the safety of their coaching staff before the win column.
Bullpen coach Bob McClure and major league coach Bill Evers - both of whom are in their 60s - will not be permitted to work this season for precautionary reasons tied to the coronavirus pandemic, a source told La Velle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune.
The Twins examined all of their staff members, Neal reports, and decided to replace McClure and Evers this year based on their age and medical histories. While neither will be in uniform in 2020, they'll both remain on the team's payroll and work in other areas of the organization.
McClure, 68, was promoted to bullpen coach this winter after spending two years in the Twins' front office. He spent 19 seasons playing in the majors, primarily as a reliever.
Evers joined the Twins' staff last year. The 66-year-old was one of Twins manager Rocco Baldelli's coaches during his playing career in Tampa Bay.
Minor-league pitching coordinator Pete Maki will likely take over for McClure as the new bullpen coach, according to Neal. Evers' replacement has yet to be found.
Those who are 65-plus years old are at a higher risk of serious illness resulting from COVID-19. In the United States, eight out of 10 reported COVID-19 related deaths have been adults in that age range, according to the CDC.
The health of older coaches and managers across baseball has been a worry since MLB announced its plans to return. Atlanta Braves coach Ron Washington, who is 68, said he'll likely wear a mask and gloves on the field to protect himself.
Minnesota was one of several teams to report positive tests for the coronavirus among its players this week. Catcher Mitch Garver has openly expressed some concerns with MLB's plans to restart the season amid the pandemic.