Astros open facilities for individual workouts
HOUSTON -- Keeping in line with other teams around Major League Baseball, the Astros will open Minute Maid Park and their Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., for limited individual workouts for players beginning Monday, general manager James Click said Sunday night.
Click said about six players are scheduled to be at each facility on Monday for staggered individual workouts or treatment with the staff on hand. Some Major League coaches who live in the area will be at Minute Maid Park. Click said the workouts at both facilities will follow strict guidelines and protocols. The club had to get clearance from local government, MLB, the CDC and team doctors to open the doors to players.
Among the safety measures in effect will be temperature screening before anyone enters the facility, which has been a common practice for those entering businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered the sports world since March.
“Not unlike everything that’s going on with other business reopenings,” Click said. “People are required to wear personal protective equipment while there, especially while doing strenuous exercises. We’re maintaining social distancing while there. There’s obviously going to be contact tracing. There will be very strict records who was there and when.”
The players aren’t allowed to participate in group workouts, so the instruction will be limited to individual drills that the players can’t simulate at home. Click said any pitchers who are throwing will have to have their own set of baseballs.
“A lot of these guys have access to pretty good workout facilities and even some baseball facilities on their own, but what they don’t have access is the professional instruction or professional treatment that comes from a staff,” Click said. “That said, we’re going to try work on some of the individual baseball activities.”
The soft opening of the facilities is another step toward the return of baseball, which was shut down in mid-March in the midst of Spring Training because of the coronavirus. MLB has already laid out stringent safety protocols that will need to be followed for the game to return, and it will reportedly make a proposal later this week to the Players Association regarding financial compensation for players.
“I would never want to speak for the players, but the sentiment from everybody is we all want to be back there safely and find a way to get going,” Click said. “It’s a big week.”