rain.png
Thursday October 28th, 2021 4:29PM
5:10AM ( 1 day ago ) Weather Alert

Players return to COVID protocols as spring training opens

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

One year later, players and managers say they have a better understanding of what it takes to play baseball through a pandemic.

Pitchers and catchers around the game reported to spring training Wednesday saying they appreciate what’s at stake as they try to make sure the season starts on time. The protocols have been tightened even further from what they experienced during the abbreviated 2020 season.

“We’ve all gone through a year of this, of living through this,” New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And so I think we’re a little, much better equipped of how to handle ourselves, how to conduct ourselves, how to make good use of our time.”

New standards agreed to by Major League Baseball and the players’ association require players, staffers and other team personnel to wear electronic tracing wristbands for ballpark access. Players underwent a five-day at-home quarantine before reporting, with exceptions for essential activities and approved outdoor workouts and exercise.

They’ll need to stay in their living quarters throughout spring training except for baseball activities, medical care, grocery shopping, takeout food pickups and outdoor physical activity. Outdoor dining will only be allowed if they get permission beforehand.

“Between the players' union and MLB, the agreement I think is pretty rock-solid when it comes to player safety, staff safety,” Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito said Tuesday. “There’s going to be a few things that are a little more, what’s the word for it, given more importance. I think some of the workouts are going to be in smaller groups, a lot more on point with mask wearing and things like that. I don’t think it will affect our work too much. We’ll certainly be able to get done what we need to get done.”

But the restrictions will make it more challenging to get ready for the season.

Catcher James McCann faces hurdles this spring trying to bond with an entirely new pitching staff after signing a $40 million, four-year deal with New York Mets. Normally, the veteran backstop would invite pitchers to dinner, set up play dates for their kids, go out and grab a drink — anything to help develop those relationships.

Forget the off-field meetups. Under MLB’s protocols, even getting together at the team’s Florida complex is more difficult. Gathering in places like the video room — usually a convenient spot for 3-4 players to meet — is a no-no.

“Nobody likes to wear a mask and sit and talk 6 feet away from each other,” McCann said. “A lot of different things I guess we took for granted.”

MLB is hoping to have a full season after playing a 60-game schedule last year that included no fans in the stands until the postseason. The Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals both dealt with COVID-19 outbreaks that resulted in multiple postponements.

“We’re the lucky sport to have 162 games, but with that obviously comes a lot of thoughtfulness and dedication and commitment,” new Marlins general manager Kim Ng said. “To play this game, you have to be absolutely committed, especially this team with them going through what they went through last year. People understand how it can decimate.”

Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez battled COVID-19 last summer and says he wasn’t the same the rest of the season.

“After that, I was not comfortable with my body,” said Martinez, who added that he feels great now.

Oakland right-hander Frankie Montas was quarantining at home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday with COVID-19. Manager Bob Melvin said Montas is “several days into it” after testing positive prior to reporting day.

Two other players were added to the COVID-19-related injured list Wednesday, which doesn't necessarily mean they've tested positive: Boston Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki and Chicago Cubs left-hander Kyle Ryan.

One of the first things Cardinals president John Mozeliak did upon arriving in Jupiter, Florida, was to request a list from the medical staff of players and coaches who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

Mozeliak believes knowing which players already have at least some measure of protection from the coronavirus can help in preventing an outbreak during spring training.

“I believe we had about 15 or 18 people with antibodies in this camp,” Mozeliak said, “so that was encouraging.”

Mozeliak also expressed hope that some staff and players could begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine by opening day.

“But I certainly understand, collectively, you’re dealing with a pretty healthy group of young people,” he said, “and when you’re looking across our country, there are people more deserving of that opportunity than this group. But clearly if you were vaccinated, it would ease up a lot of the protocols we have in a sense of where you can go and where you can’t.”

For now, players say they are ready to follow the protocols while looking forward to the day they’re playing in full stadiums again.

“Thankful it’s going to be, not quite normal, but closer to it,” Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner said. “I think we’re on the path back to that, so hopefully it all happens sooner rather than later.”

___

AP Baseball Writers Ronald Blum, Stephen Hawkins and Jake Seiner and AP Sports Writers David Brandt, Dave Skretta and Steven Wine contributed to this report.

___

More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/MLB

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Sports - Major League Baseball
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Crippling weather hampers vaccine deliveries, distribution
Just as vaccine efforts ramp up and gain speed, the icy blast across much of the United States has injected more confusion and frustration into the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination drive
5:30PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Players return to COVID protocols as spring training opens
Pitchers and catchers around baseball reported to spring training Wednesday appreciating what’s at stake as they try to follow COVID-19 protocols make sure the season runs with minimal interruptions
5:18PM ( 21 minutes ago )
California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027
New legislation would ban all fracking in California by 2027, taking aim at the powerful oil and gas industry in a state that's been a leader in combating climate change
5:11PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: US government seizes over 10M fake N95 masks
Federal agents have seized more than 10 million fake N95 masks in recent weeks
4:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
Mets' Rojas condemns behavior of fired hitting coordinator
Mets manager Luis Rojas condemned the behavior of former New York hitting performance coordinator Ryan Ellis but said he never witnessed his longtime coworker act inappropriately after Ellis was fired recently for sexually harassment
4:04PM ( 1 hour ago )
Hayward finding success in more prominent role with Hornets
In a time when many veteran NBA players are doing anything they can to join a “super team” in hopes of winning a championship, Gordon Hayward is a bit of an anomaly
4:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Black franchise owner sues McDonald's, cites persistent bias
The Black owner of 14 McDonald's franchises has sued the corporation in federal court asserting numerous instances of unfair treatment compared with white owners
4:43PM ( 1 day ago )
Braves beat shortstop Dansby Swanson in salary arbitration
The Atlanta Braves beat Dansby Swanson in salary arbitration, and the shortstop will earn $6 million rather than his request for $6.7 million
3:07PM ( 1 day ago )
Deaths highlight once-in-a-decade Rockies avalanche danger
The deaths of two Colorado men caught in backcountry avalanches and a third in Montana over the frigid Presidents Day weekend underscore the winter dangers in the Rocky Mountain wilderness
5:27PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Baseball
MLB cuts spring training travel, drops college opponents
Major League Baseball revamped its spring training exhibition schedule because of the pandemic, cutting travel for Florida-based teams in an effort to minimize virus risks
1:10PM ( 5 days ago )
Minor leagues get a reset with 120-team regional alignment
Major League Baseball has reorganized its minor leagues in a 120-team regional alignment
12:30PM ( 5 days ago )
Raptors to keep calling Tampa home for rest of season
The Toronto Raptors aren’t going back to Toronto this season
7:35PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Crippling weather hampers vaccine deliveries, distribution
Just as vaccine efforts ramp up and gain speed, the icy blast across much of the United States has injected more confusion and frustration into the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination drive
5:30PM ( 9 minutes ago )
California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027
New legislation would ban all fracking in California by 2027, taking aim at the powerful oil and gas industry in a state that's been a leader in combating climate change
5:11PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Cooper seeking improved warning system after deadly tornado
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the state must learn from the surprise tornado that struck the community of Ocean Isle Beach with little or no warning, leaving three people dead and 10 injured
5:00PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Clashes erupt in 2nd night of protests over rapper's jailing
Police in Spain have fired rubber bullets and baton-charged protesters as clashes erupted for a second night at demonstrations against the arrest of a rap artist Pablo Hasél
5:00PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Man arrested in hit-and-run death of Nicki Minaj's father
A 70-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in the hit-and-run death of rapper Nicki Minaj’s father
4:58PM ( 41 minutes ago )