Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Red Sox News

Red Sox stressing January mindset during break

@IanMBrowne
March 20, 2020

BOSTON -- As the Red Sox do their best to stay sharp during MLB’s indefinite shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, interim manager Ron Roenicke has tried to get his players into a January mindset. In other words, proceed with daily workouts as if it is January, not mid-March. Roenicke

BOSTON -- As the Red Sox do their best to stay sharp during MLB’s indefinite shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, interim manager Ron Roenicke has tried to get his players into a January mindset.

In other words, proceed with daily workouts as if it is January, not mid-March.

Roenicke left Fort Myers, Fla., and returned to his home earlier this week. Some position players and pitchers remain, but the group is smaller than it was last week.

“Well, we’ve sat down -- [chief baseball officer] Chaim [Bloom], [trainer] Brad [Pearson], [pitching coach Dave Bush] and myself -- and talked about what we do with, especially the starting pitchers,” Roenicke said.

“The relievers, we’re trying to get them to maybe throw bullpens twice a week,” he added. “The starters, they are on their fifth day and trying to get in a couple of innings somewhere. The longer it goes on with pitchers, the more of a concern it is. They had been trying to throw three innings and they’re trying to do that for a couple of months. So we backed to two innings in just realizing we still have plenty of time depending on how many weeks they give us to get ready for the season.”

The way Roenicke looks at it, if the Red Sox get a three-week Spring Training before the season begins, each pitcher will be able to get four starts.

For the position players, it is easier to take daily batting practice without concern of wear and tear.

“The regulars can keep staying sharp. They’re taking batting practice two or three times a week somewhere and swinging,” said Roenicke.

For the players still in camp, the Red Sox are being very mindful of social distancing with the way informal workouts are taking place.

“We do have a crew there, a reduced crew, of medical staff and we have guys who are able to work out with players who are coming,” Roenicke said. “They are showing up in waves. So the pitchers are showing up first in the morning. The guys who are in the area. And then in the afternoon the guys who are still there, the regulars are showing up to hit in the batting cages and to stay sharp that way.

“There were eight guys who showed up [Thursday],” Roenicke said. “The day before, less than that. The day before that, [there were] about 15 guys. There are still quite a few guys in the area and we just want to make sure we have enough staff there that they can help with whatever they need."

Red Sox organization healthy so far
The Red Sox don’t believe that anyone in their organization has contracted the coronavirus.

“That’s something we’re being very vigilant in monitoring,” said Bloom. “You look around, the way this is going, we know it’s very possible it’s going to happen at some point.

“We’re just trying to make sure everybody is educated and stays in touch with everybody, whether they are in the front office, whether it’s a player or staff member, that they know what symptoms to look out for and that they know where to turn.

“And also that everybody is aware of social distancing and all the other things we should practice, not just to keep ourselves and our families safe but to do our part for society so we can flatten the curve and try to contain this outbreak. But obviously we know it could happen at any point and we’ll be ready when it does to make sure we’re giving the right guidance.”

McHugh status?
Now that Chris Sale is lost for the season following Thursday’s announcement that he will undergo Tommy John surgery, the status of Collin McHugh becomes more relevant.

The Red Sox signed the swingman March 5, but he is coming back from a strained right flexor tendon that he suffered last season with the Astros.

“He was still working out and progressing towards throwing obviously when all this happened,” said Bloom. “He is still in the Fort Myers area right now because we expect he will return at some point and continue to progress. Hopefully, obviously it’s a little tougher for everybody right now, but hopefully he’ll be able to [work] as much as he can, and we’ll be able to have him progress to throwing and move him forward as much as we can.”

Bullpen more in focus
The Red Sox made their first roster move Thursday since Spring Training was halted, optioning lefty reliever Josh Osich to Triple-A Pawtucket.

That transaction brings the race for the final three bullpen spots more in focus.

Ryan Brasier and Colten Brewer seem likely to take two of those spots. That would leave Austin Brice and Brian Johnson as the top candidates for the final spot.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.