There currently is a ton of uncertainty surrounding the 2020 Major League Baseball season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has forced everything to be shut down.
MLB has discussed a number of different possibilities to get a season in, with the most recent being all games played in Arizona, Florida and Texas where there are stadiums with domes.
Games would take place without fans in attendance, but that is still a ways away from happening as MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made it clear that everyone’s health will come first when deciding when to resume playing.
That leaves several unknowns for the players, who are doing what they can to stay in shape in preparation for the 2020 season even though they are forced to be quarantined in their respective homes and there is no return date in sight.
The Los Angeles Dodgers provided players with remote workout plans to aid the process. Clayton Kershaw previously said he has been playing catch with himself at his home in Texas in order to be keep his arm in shape during the layoff.
However, that has also created a challenge for Kershaw as he is uncertain how rigorously to throw, via Arash Markazi of the L.A. Times:
“It’s hard to know how much to throw,” Kershaw said. “I think us as starting pitchers, we’re probably the most vulnerable in terms of being not prepared. I think position players and even relievers will tell you they only need two or three weeks to get ready. A starting pitcher needs to be built up. You need time. You can’t just go from one inning to six innings. That’s been the hardest part for me. I’m kind of working off the idea that we might be back in June or July.”
MLB will likely have another shortened Spring Training before beginning the regular season to allow players to get back into game shape to avoid injuries.
Fellow Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling estimated that starters would need at least three Spring Training starts to be ready for the season, although even that isn’t enough to get fully built up.
Not rushing to get built up will be extra important for Kershaw, who is now 32 years of age and has dealt with a number of arm and back injuries in recent years. Luckily, the Dodgers have arguably the most pitching depth in all of baseball, so even if Kershaw is only built up to four or five innings at the start of the regular season, L.A. should be able to get by.
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