MLB baseball is taking a step forward to restarting the season.
The Rays will begin workouts Monday at Tropicana Field and I use that term loosely.
This will be more like an informal workout session, although trainers and some coaches will be present.
Think of the very first days of spring training, when the pitchers and catchers report. There is a lot of running around, a lot of long tosses, and some calisthenics.
For now there will be throwing off the mound, and no one allowed to hit in the batting cages. Also no one will be allowed to use the weight room or the clubhouse.
These restrictions are expected to be relaxed in the coming weeks as the Rays gear up for a second spring training.
This will be the first time the rays have been together in over two months. MLB shut down Spring training on March 12th due to COVID-19. Social distancing guidelines will be in place and interaction will be kept to a minimum.
Most of the Rays have stayed in the Tampa and Port Charlotte areas, so it won’t be too hard to get the players back together.
The only exceptions are first basemen Ji-Man Choi who returned to Korea and newly signed outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo who returned to his native Japan.
There may be some issues getting those players back into the country, but they should be here in time for the potential start-up of a second spring training in June.
These workouts will be limited to those players on the 40 man roster for now. Players have been doing cardio and other workouts on their own since the season was shut down in March.
In addition to using Tropicana field for some team activities, the Rays will also use Al Lang Field their original spring training home.
Al Lang Field is owned by the Rays and is the home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
The MLB players association and the owners are currently negotiating for a start to the 2020 season right around July 4th.
The safety of the players and all team personnel is first and foremost. That will be the easy part of the negotiations.
The financial part, how much the players will be paid, with no fans, with fans, all that will need to be agreed upon before the season begins.