Pinkerton Excited To Resume Career In New Look Minor League Baseball
BY DAVE SHEA
Ogdensburg's Seth Pinkerton has experienced a look at a glimmer of light at the end of a tunnel that had was emphatically slammed shut by the startling hammer of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That glimmer of light came in the form of a email from the Minnesota Twins' Head Minor League Coordinator Alex Hassan on Friday informing Pinkerton and all players in the Twins' system that there could possibly be a 2021 Minor League Baseball season.
A season in a totally revamped Minor League landscape. In December, MLB announced that the Minor League Baseball would consist of four levels of full-season levels Triple A, AA, High A and Low-A. In a best case scenario the Triple AAA leagues would play 142 game and the three Class A Levels would all play 120 games.
Triple-A play is scheduled to begin on April 6 and the three Class A levels would begin on May 4. The leagues have been aligned to reduce travel in the face of the pandemic.
The Minnesota Minor League system features the Saint Paul Saints at Triple A, the Wichita (Kansas) Wind Surge at Double A, the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Iowa) at High A which located just a few miles from the movie set of "Field of Dreams" and the Fort Myers (Florida) Mussels at Low A.
Friday's email to the Twins' Minor League players was the first direct positive communication since last March when the onset of the pandemic shut down all of Major League Baseball Spring Training Camps. Pinkerton was at the Twins' camp in Fort Myers, Fla. when all of the minor leaguers were sent home until further notice.
The 2020 Minor League season never happened which was devastating for Pinkerton who was poised to complete his comeback from a knee injury in Aug. of 2018 which ended his first professional season at the Class A short season level in Elizabethton, Tenn.
The injury required reconstructive surgery and a follow up procedure to remove scar tissue which kept the former OFA pitching standout sidelined for rehabilitation in the 2019 season.
With his comeback put on hold for almost a year, Friday's email, although somewhat tentative, was a definite break through for Pinkerton who carried out his personal pitching training in his backyard until the advent of winter.
"The Major League season begins on April 4 but there is no date to send us (Minor League players) south because so many things have to be done after the Major League Camp is completed. They have set the opening Minor League dates as a best case scenario. But just the fact that the email said that we could possibly play was great news. This was something positive," said Pinkerton who drafted his the 20th round of the 2018 Major League Draft by the Twins after setting save records at Hartford University.
Physically he is expecting a best case scenario.
"My knee feels great and my arm feels even stronger than it was in college," Pinkerton says.
In the winter months he has used a special pitching sock to maintain that his arm strength which has produced two "out" pitches in fastball clocked as high at 97-98 mph and a high movement "heavy ball" sinker.
"The twins sent me a pitching sock which allows me to throw and they realize that I have been limited up here by the winter weather. Our head minor league pitching coach tells me all the all-time that he knows what I have been going through because he grew up in Minnesota," said Pinkerton.
"The Twins have a great set up and I am hopeful to be assigned to Cedar Rapids. I know that because of the injury I have fallen behind a lot prospects but I am really excited." added Pinkerton.
"The number of Minor League jobs in the Twins system has been cut from 190 to 180. I know I am the underdog again but I like where I stand. I am ready. Not being able to pitch and compete has been horrible. I am ready to play baseball."