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Tigers' Ron Gardenhire: 'I'd have a hard time' staying if team suffers COVID-19 outbreak

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire still feels safe. His players and coaches, he said, are doing an excellent job keeping up with safety protocols, both those instituted by the league and the team.

But if the Tigers were to suffer a COVID-19 outbreak along the lines of the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, well, things most certainly would change.

Ron Gardenhire

"We're here to play and there's a lot going on in the game, and I'm as worried as anybody else," Gardenhire said. "I've been through cancer, I've been through a lot of things. ... I'm fine being here in this clubhouse. As long as our guys are doing the right stuff, I'm good with it and I'm happy and we'll go.

"I'm not going to run out on these guys unless it gets really bad in our camp, and then I would have a hard time. That would really scare me."

The managers and coaching staffs are among the most vulnerable to a COVID-19 outbreak, given the typical advanced age and previous conditions.

More: At what point does Casey Mize enter into Tigers' rotation conversation?

Gardenhire, 62, had prostate cancer surgery early in the 2017 season, forcing him to take a five-week leave of absence as bench coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He also is a diabetic, a condition most often cited by medical experts as being extremely problematic if COVID-19 is contracted.

Gardenhire routinely wears his mask, on and off the field, briefly pulling it down during Zoom calls with reporters.

"They're all trying," he said of players and coaches. "That's what we have to do, just keep trying."

Around the horn

The Tigers shifted right-hander Anthony Castro to the team's training site in Toledo, which puts their major-league roster at 29 as they try to get down to 28 by this week's deadline.

MLB and the players' union, however, continue to have negotiations about keeping the rosters at 30, given the COVID-19 realities, Tigers union rep Matthew Boyd confirmed Monday.

"I don't know how much traction there is with those (talks), but I know they're still negotiating," he said.

Castro appeared in one game this season, allowing a home runs and two runs in his one inning.

... The Tigers took Monday off, but were back on the field working out Tuesday. The extra days off allowed Gardenhire and the staff to work on specific drills, which they often can't focus on during the grind of a regular season. On Monday, the focus was defensive shifts and infield alignment.

Later this week, the Tigers plan to have live batting practice with their pitchers and hitters.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984