Bench-turned-third-base coach Chip Hale acknowledged on Monday, in a SiriusXM MLB Network Radio interview, that while he initially thought a few weeks off for the Nationals’ pitchers might actually help after Washington’s long postseason run last October, this is really not what anyone expected when baseball shut down amid concerns about COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic back in mid-March.
“They’re just searching for what to do,” Hale said of what coaches are hearing from their players these days.
“They’re trying to hold the level they were [at] when Spring Training ended and everybody was good and healthy and on their way.”
At this point, however, Hale said, “I think it’s frustrating now for them, and how long will we need to ramp up, that’s the big question.”
If/when Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLBPA can work out an agreement on how to handle a 2020 campaign with a pandemic still going around the country, things will have to get started relatively quickly if they have any hope of playing the rumored 82 games they’re said to want to get in.
Ryan Zimmerman told reporters last month that he didn’t know how long it would take to get going again, but it’s going to have to be rushed.
“I don’t know what it’s going to be,” he said of a proposed Spring Training 2.0. “whether it’s going to be two weeks, three weeks, whatever it ends up being. It will obviously be rushed compared to what we’re used to.”
“Most of this is about getting the pitchers stretched out and ready to pitch — I think that depends on what you’re doing in the interim to keep yourself stretched out and have as many reps as you can going into this second portion of Spring Training,” GM Mike Rizzo explained.
“I think that will determine what we’re going to do and how early we can start these camps up after we start with another workout period.”
Adam Eaton shared his thoughts as well, in a Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio interview with Casey Stern and Ryan Spilborghs on Tuesday.
“I think it’s going to be more time than we think,” Eaton said of the time needed to get ready to play games again.
“I think we think we are invincible and super-human, but we’re not. I think all the sports, if the NHL ends up coming back, those guys haven’t been on skates in almost two months, that’s crazy. They’ve never not been on skates for two months probably since they were four years old, which is just unprecedented.”
To get a season in, Eaton said, they’ll obviously have to, “get creative.”
“Figure out the way, what would be the best, and they really give us the amount of time, and we’ll make the best use of it and try to ramp up as effectively as possible.
“I would say we’re all fresh right now, we’ve been working out and doing the most we can do with what we’ve got, but like I said, whatever amount of time they give us we have to be professional and responsible and get it done.”