It seems that states across the country are starting to re-open businesses and sports are slowly making a return. This has led to the MLB to begin discussing how, and when, they will resume play. The St. Louis Cardinals are among the clubs trying to prepare their team for a season in 2020.
Sources told ESPN that teams have begun to encourage their players to prepare for spring training, which could happen as soon as the middle of June. The regular season would follow that in early July.
The MLB and MLBPA have just come to an agreement on a shortened draft but will soon start discussing the hurdles that remain to start the season. Jeff Passan, ESPN MLB Insider, says the MLB expects to offer a return-to-play proposal in less than a week.
Preseason for the Cardinals
The front office is starting to communicate more with players while preparing for spring training. The MLB doesn’t have an official start date yet, but Mike Shildt and staff are stepping up preparations to finally play baseball.
President of baseball operations, John Mozeliak, said that there is an urgency to know how the team is going to prepare. A spring training in June will be an abnormal “spring” for players and the Cardinals organization.
The Cardinals are usually in Jupiter, Florida for the spring. Mozeliak has stated that June might not mean Florida. They have explored some ideas for hosting workouts, “Camp 2.0” as he calls it. They would work out at Busch Stadium but still host in Jupiter so both places are operational just in case.
A change in the length of the season can change what the opening day roster will look like for St. Louis. Especially pitching.
Mozeliac was asked by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch how they would handle the roster.
“That’s a tough question because we don’t know yet what the schedule will look like. Is it an 81-game schedule? That does mean teams team are playing seven days a week, or will there be doubleheaders? You can reverse-engineer once you know what that looks like. When we begin games, it’s going to be abnormal. That’s for sure. How you look at a rotation, how you use a bullpen — all of that will be different. It won’t be traditional.”
One pitcher in the organization has used the time off to get healthy. The extended time off has given 38-year-old Adam Wainwright the ability to fully rest his arm. Health was an issue for him several years ago with retirement not completely off his mind, but now believes he has some time left.
“Health has brought me back into a place of not wanting to be done yet. When health was an issue, and my arm hurt taking a spoonful of cereal, I knew it was maybe time to hang it up.” Wainwright told The Athletic. “But now that it doesn’t hurt anymore, hurt when I throw a ball, hurt when I’m lifting, I’m having fun again. And now right when it’s gotten fun again, I’m not playing.”
The Countdown is Close
No team has a playbook on how to return in the most productive, but safe, fashion. Mozeliak and the front office are giving it their best go, as all 30 organizations are.
Health is going to be the league’s top priority, but hopefully, the MLB can gain some insight with the start of the UFC, PGA, and others. Once the agreement to the season has been set, the countdown to opening day will begin.
The first pitch may look a little different in July, without fans. The race for the NL Central will be in full swing and each game will mean that much more.
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