Major League Baseball has been in a state of uncertainty for over two months since temporarily suspending operations due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but the hope is a 2020 season can still be salvaged.
MLB team owners and the Players Association are in ongoing talks to finalize a plan, but plenty of hurdles remain. The two sides must sort through player safety and economic concerns before play can potentially resume this summer.
If and when those issues are resolved, the focus will shift to players rejoining their clubs for a second Spring Training. The belief is that most teams will be able to host exhibition games at their home ballpark, but some may need to relocate to Arizona or Florida.
A few Los Angeles Dodgers players have already estimated how many reps they would need to feel comfortable going into the regular season.
For Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, he is most worried about starting pitchers getting the opportunity to log enough innings in an extended camp, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I think the group that I am really most concerned about is our starting pitchers, from a baseball-preparedness standpoint,” he said. “Our relievers and our position players can run and do things in a way that I think we can get them prepared for spring training and then prepared for an Opening Day. It’s the starters who are a little bit more front and center in terms of wrapping your arms around where they’re at now and building that up. We’ve got guys spread out all over the country. I know Mark (Prior, Dodgers pitching coach) and Connor (McGuiness, assistant pitching coach) have been in close communication with them and making sure they’re in a good spot– or in as good a spot as they can be.”
At the end of March, Friedman said the Dodgers were not even thinking about throwing programs for pitchers. Now that baseball may be on the brink of returning, it is crucial that starters begin ramping back up in preparation for the 2020 season.
Ross Stripling projected that most pitchers would need three Spring Training starts to get back up to game speed. “Everyone is a little different but I think most pitchers would want three starts,” he told DodgerBlue.com in an exclusive interview.
“Two, three, four; or three, four, five innings. So that puts it at 15 days, at least, for a Spring Training 2.0. I think most people could be ready after that. It sounds like we might have expanded rosters.
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