Friedman: 'A lot of unknowns' for 2020 season

March 26th, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- The new world order of MLB front offices now includes advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), industrial-size dispensers of hand sanitizer and, yes, Zoom video conferencing.

“I hadn’t even heard of it two weeks ago,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said of the technology. “Now it’s as much a part of my life as anything. It’s incredible. My son had a Zoom call with his class the other day. That’s when I knew it was really taking off.”

On what was originally scheduled to be Opening Day, Friedman held a conference call with the media to say that, no, he didn’t really have answers to big questions like: How long will a “Spring Training Part II” be? When will the season open and how many games will be played? What's the status of the first Dodger Stadium All-Star Game in 40 years?

Friedman doesn't know.

“I don’t think anybody can say anything with certainty about anything,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s looking too far out with any bold proclamations, as much as doing whatever small part we can play to getting back as soon as we can.

“Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns. When it is remains to be seen, but I think everybody’s on the same page about playing as quickly as we think we can and as many games as we can.”

The best update Friedman provided was that no Dodgers player or staff has had symptoms, or has needed to be tested for the virus.

“Everyone is doing well right now,” he said.

He said players have been “creative” in devising workout regimens consistent with social distancing recommendations, so they will be ready to ramp up when the green light is given. Among his concerns is managing the workloads for certain pitchers who would have been restricted anyway due to previous injuries or their youth.

Friedman did offer upbeat reports on outfielder Joc Pederson and pitching prospect Dustin May, who were both nursing strained side muscles when Spring Training was suspended.

“Joc is doing well. He was near the end of his rehab phase when things got shut down and he’s in a pretty good spot right now,” he said. “Dustin is in a similar boat. Being a starting pitcher, it was going to take him longer to get back. He’s doing well, he’s throwing. When we get back going he’ll be in a good spot to hit the ground running.”

Friedman said the past few weeks have been “incredibly surreal,” and he reiterated his belief that if everybody “does our small part, we can get back to enjoying the things we all enjoy.”

Friedman said dealing with the immediate complications created by the crisis has prevented him from sharing in the thought exercises of others, including the future of trade acquisition Mookie Betts, whose rights the Dodgers only hold through the 2020 season.

“I’m not even focused on that right now,” he said. “I can’t wait until I am and able to think through things in those terms. But I think having perspective on what we can do and where we are at this moment is most important. Obviously, we’ll have a lot of time to get into that when we get going and playing.”