Dodgers News: Austin Barnes, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner & Alex Wood Concerned About MLB Proposed Safety Protocols
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

As Major League Baseball navigates the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and explores means to begin a 2020 regular season, much of the discussion centers around player safety and other health protocols.

MLB recently submitted a 67-page document to the Players Association that outlined measures and changes to be taken in effort to prevent the spread of the contagious virus. It called for grouping players, front office personnel, stadium employees and others into tiers, and the elimination of spitting, eating sunflower seeds and high-fiving, among other changes.

“I guess it’s doable,” answered Clayton Kershaw when asked about the proposed protocols during the fourth Dodgers Zoom Party. “I don’t want to get into all of that, but I hope baseball comes back. I really do.

“I just hope they can figure out a way where we can at least elbow dab or something. I need some encouragement from the guys. Everybody knows I like to get a firm fist-bump, so I need something. I think I could maybe do away with spitting, but I think most guys would say they couldn’t do that. We’re going to need to figure it out.”

Alex Wood added: “It will be interesting to see what we end up deciding once this gets all figured out.”

Like Kershaw, Austin Barnes wondered how teammates would be able to interact with each other. “I think it’s going to be weird,” he said.

“You gather up before the game and everybody has their handshakes and all that. Spitting would probably be pretty hard not to do on a baseball field. That would be a strange one, for sure.”

The routines and customs that players have become so engrained with was also on the mind of Justin Turner. “It’s tough, because there’s so many little nuances in the game of baseball,” he said. “I think teammates enjoy celebrating during the game and a lot of that is by high-fiving or a nice pat on the butt when a guy walks by and you say, ‘Nice play.’

“To not have that anymore, there’s going to have to be new creative ways to celebrate those moments. One thing about baseball that’s cool is the pregame handshakes. We’re going to have to do something else for that, too.”

An early idea Turner had as a replacement for handshakes was more moving of the feet from Kershaw. “Maybe Kersh will just do a lot more dancing up and down the dugout,” Turner said.

To which Kershaw responded, “Whatever it takes, guys. Whatever it takes.”

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