MINNEAPOLIS -- Nelson Cruz is more prepared than most for this period of relative self-isolation during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with a full gym and batting cage available to him at home in Las Matas de Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic. But for other athletes -- and fans --
MINNEAPOLIS -- Nelson Cruz is more prepared than most for this period of relative self-isolation during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with a full gym and batting cage available to him at home in Las Matas de Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic. But for other athletes -- and fans -- around the country, things might not be so easy.
With that in mind, newly signed slugger Josh Donaldson joined MLB Central's hosts on MLB Network on Friday to offer some alternatives for those looking to stay engaged with baseball activity while those around the country remain at home for the foreseeable future.
"It goes back to when I was a kid myself; there wasn't Fortnite and everything else out there like that," Donaldson said on the show. "You actually had to play outside."
Donaldson recalled that when he was nine or 10 years old, he built a net that was around five or six feet wide and eight feet high and hit into it all day long. He said he planned to rig up a similar contraption at his home to continue his work as facilities around the country remained closed due to the epidemic.
The former American League Most Valuable Player Award winner certainly isn't the only one with the idea of using such a setup for now. Rangers slugger Joey Gallo posted a video to his Twitter account on Saturday showing him in his apartment hitting off a tee into a net raised in front of his dining room table.
Donaldson also recommended doing those drills near a full-length mirror in order to track one's body movements while working with a bat.
Of course, the slugger also has his solid defense at the hot corner to worry about during this hiatus to maintain the glove form that netted him 8 outs above average last season, a number that trailed only Gold Glove Award winners Nolan Arenado and Matt Chapman. Donaldson said that on one occasion, he had his girlfriend, Briana, bounce him racquetballs inside the house so he could simulate taking ground balls.
It's certainly not a full approximation of Spring Training, and it's a far cry from actually playing regular-season games, as the Twins would have been doing by now. Both Donaldson and Twins top prospect Royce Lewis, who joined MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo for a video interview Monday, said they remain on a schedule of three workouts a week, keeping them in shape while avoiding the stresses of overlifting during the period that would otherwise be encompassed by the beginning of the season.
But the players understand this is uncharted territory that's out of their control, and that they simply need to make do with whatever they have available for the time being.
"Every guy, in one way, shape or form, is facing a logistical challenge," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said in a conference call last week. "Some are in more challenging circumstances than others, but every guy is in a unique spot where something that is normally available to them is now not available to them. So that's where it's our job and the players' job to work together to find the best possible set of circumstances, situations, facilities, equipment that we can come up with and make it work."
Twins express gratitude to medical professionals
Monday marked the annual celebration of National Doctors' Day in the United States as medical professionals around the world continue to put themselves at risk by going to work to help those ailing from the coronavirus and other life-threatening medical conditions. The Twins and Baldelli posted a video on Monday thanking those providers for their selfless work.
"On National Doctors' Day, everyone here with the Minnesota Twins would just like to take a second to thank all of the doctors who are out there right now saving lives and doing all of the things that they do," Baldelli said. "We appreciate what you do, and as doctors would probably also say, we thank all of the other medical professionals out there who are doing the same work and all of the other people doing essential services so all of us can go about living our lives."
Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.