The Twins, gathering for their first full day of workouts, were not in standard uniform. Every player — every team employee, in fact — wore red-t-shirts featuring a white heart and the words, “Heart of 29” in blue letters.
No. 29, you see, suffered a massive heart attack on Sept. 20. Spent 47 straight days in five different hospitals. Survived only due to something called a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), which he had implanted during surgery to help his failing heart function.
Carew, 70, said he is about four months away from becoming eligible for a heart transplant; the procedure cannot take place until six months after surgery. His LVAD is hooked up to battery packs and a small, portable computer, making it appear as if he is wearing a flak jacket under his uniform.
Yet, there he was Saturday, standing on the field watching drills, observing hitters in the batting cage. There he was, borrowing a blue Twins pullover from his old teammate and roommate, Tony Oliva, to help him stay warm.
“It’s kind of emotional,” Carew said. “And I don’t want to get emotional on the baseball field, because there is no crying in baseball.”