The Miami Marlins are taking the first step toward resuming regular baseball activities.
Starting Tuesday, players on the team’s 40-man roster are allowed to use certain parts of the Marlins’ spring training facility in Jupiter. This includes the batting cages and throwing off mounds. The clubhouse will remain closed. Local radio host Andy Slater was first to report.
All activities at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium Complex, at least for the time being, will be individual work. No group activities are going to be done at this time.
Nevertheless, it’s a step in the right direction as Major League Baseball attempts to start its season that has already been delayed nearly two months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
MLB initially stopped operations on March 12, two weeks before Opening Day, and has been in a holding pattern since.
The league and the MLB Players Association is working to agree on a plan that, in a best-case scenario, would start the season in July in empty stadiums. But there are details that still need to be hammered out, specifically with finances and safety precautions.
The Marlins have not met as a team since they closed their spring training facility on March 16, four days after spring training was stopped. Players have been working out on their own and have been receiving instructions from strength and conditioning trainers and coaches.
But finding that right balance during the down time, especially when players don’t know when the season would officially start again, can prove challenging.
“Guys don’t quite know what to do,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said recently. “ … You can only turn that gear on to a high level and keep it there for so long.
“They were amping up in spring training to a point where it was getting close to the season and they were trying to get ready and turn that notch up.
“Then, you’ve got to shut that off because you can’t keep amping and amping not knowing what kind of time frame it’s going to be. You can’t be doing that for two months. Just trying to maintain something.”