DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich noted Monday that “we have to accept to a certain degree that we are not truly in control,” and that fact came into focus Monday night -- when outfielder Ian Desmond, citing the COVID-19 virus, family concerns and the desire to provide baseball
DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich noted Monday that “we have to accept to a certain degree that we are not truly in control,” and that fact came into focus Monday night -- when outfielder Ian Desmond, citing the COVID-19 virus, family concerns and the desire to provide baseball opportunity in his hometown of Sarasota, Fla., announced he will not play in 2020.
Before Desmond's Instagram post announcing his desires, manager Bud Black said he believes players have done all they can.
“I’ve got to give the players a lot of credit for staying on top of their own individual physical well-being to be ready,” Black said. “We’re confident in that.”
Summer camps around baseball begin this week, with the regular season scheduled to begin July 23 and 24. That’s a quick run-up to a season and not much time to build pitchers’ stamina. And it’s all against the backdrop of the COVID-19 virus, which could play havoc with rosters and pitching staffs.
Pitching staffs will be a major decision. Active rosters are capped at 30 for the first two weeks of the regular season, 28 for the next two and 26 for the remainder. There is no limit to the number of pitchers.
The structure of the staff is a subject of ongoing discussion.
“We’ll have to look at the schedule right out of the chute to see if there are any off-days in there or not, but generally speaking probably a five-man rotation with some guys who have length who can come in behind them,” Black said. “I’m sure there will be a number of pitchers -- depending if we take 15 or 16, whatever number we keep -- who are very capable of going a couple innings.
“The first week of games, first 10 games, it's going to look a lot like the early games of Spring Training, where there's a number of pitchers who are being used. But again, it will all be sort of pitch count predicated in and we'll sort of know where we are when we get to, you know, late July when the season starts.”
Here are highlights from an hour-plus Zoom call Bridich and Black conducted with Denver media.
• Players are due at Coors Field on Wednesday for intake and testing, and Bridich said he hopes workouts begin “Friday or Saturday.” While there are reports that three players have tested positive for COVID-19, Bridich declined to say how many positive tests there are among players and staff members from previous tests.
• Bridich said the Rockies plan to use fields at Metropolitan State University of Denver for part of the summer camp, to relieve some of the crowding at Coors Field.
• The Rockies’ satellite camp, which would start a few days before the regular season, will be in Albuquerque, site of their Triple-A team in normal years.
• When the Albuquerque operation starts, right-handed pitchers Wes Parsons, a starter-reliever who saw time in the Rockies’ bullpen last year, and Tommy Doyle, the Rockies’ No. 19 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will join that group. The Rockies invited 52 to Coors Field, and the limit is 60.
“The plan is to have more guys join us in Albuquerque, and we’re going to finalize those decisions probably this week,” Bridich said. Still, the Rockies can’t exceed a total of 60 between the big league roster and the satellite camp.
• The Rockies are contemplating playing some exhibition games before the regular season begins, but those are in the talking stage. “Right now it is something that we would like to do, based on our schedule -- and our schedule is being confirmed as well, so there are some outliers,” Bridich said.
• Bridich commended Gov. Jared Polis, public officials and citizens of Colorado for virus case and hospitalization numbers that so far have been better than many states, although there has been a recent uptick.
However, he said the Rockies have not been approached about hosting another team, should that team’s city be deemed by government and MLB not suitable to host games.
• Right-handed pitcher Justin Lawrence, a 40-man roster member who received an 80-game suspension for a violation of the MLB Joint Drug Abuse Treatment program, was not invited to the camp. Bridich said there has been no ruling on how the suspension will be counted.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.