Collin McHugh: 'I think we can do this and pull this off'

Rob Bradford
July 03, 2020 - 2:42 pm
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If there was any one player at Fenway Park Friday who represented the "one day at a time" mantra it was Collin McHugh.

Will McHugh's elbow be good enough to pitch when the regular season kicks off in three weeks? One day at a time.

"I  think we’ll have a better idea as we move forward in this spring training or second spring training or summer training. What are we calling it? Summer Camp. We’ll have a better idea when we get into it. That’s my hope," he said after the Red Sox' first workout of their second spring training. "It remains to be seen."

And then there is the matter of everyone involved getting through the coronavirus-induced 60-game regular season.

Like the other members of the Red Sox, McHugh was privy to the new protocols in and around Fenway. No clubhouse access. Showers in the concourses. Two players at a time using the suites for a dressing room. And masks everywhere.

It was different, to be sure. But will it be good enough? McHugh's take ... You guessed it, one day at a time.

"I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know. I hope so," he said when asked about his optimism regarding getting through the season. "I really, really hope so. I’m up here in Boston without my family for three months trying to play baseball, trying to put a game on for three hours a night for people to hopefully give them some rest, give them a break, give them some entertainment. But then go right back to the real world. Obviously our hope is that we can do this safely and we can pull it off, but we’ve seen in different areas in the country and different areas of the world that this virus can be unpredictable and if we aren’t extremely vigilant on our part it doesn’t take a lot for the walls to start closing in on. I think for players, we understand that and we understand both our safety, our health and all the health and safety of the people around us give us a chance to play this game. It rides on that fact, that we are extremely, extremely careful and vigilant about following these protocols. I think if we can do that as players and staff and organizations across the league can commit to doing that I think we can do this and pull this off.

"Like I said, I think it could be a huge help to give a break, to give a mental break to people across the country and across the world. Its’ been a struggle this year. it’s been a real, real struggle."

McHugh and the Red Sox were already hit with a dose of the new reality with multiple players testing positive for COVID-19, according to manager Ron Roenicke. As the pitcher pointed out, such setbacks are going to happen. Going through the steps to limit such issues will be the key.

"If we know anything about this virus at this point it’s that it’s not playing favorites, whether we’re healthy baseball players, professional athletes, some of us our high risk," McHugh said. "We have high-risk staff. We have to be extremely vigilant that we are following these health and safety protocols that we have been working toward for three months to put in play. I think some positives were going to be expected. Guys were coming from different parts of the country, different parts of the world and to think that everybody would come back 100 percent healthy, that was the hope, but obviously it’s not going to happen. We’ve seen it with other sports, when they have come back they have had some positives too. It becomes a necessity for us as players, a necessity for the organization as a whole, to be able to see them, minimize them through the contact tracing, making sure everything is as safe as possible for the guys who are at the field every day. For me, I feel today is Day 1 I’ve been at the park and seen what the protocols look like in practice.

"I have to say the Red Sox are doing a tremendous job of keeping social distance, of keeping everything extremely clean, going out of their way to make sure players are separated when they don’t have to be around each other. Staff separated when they don’t have to be around us. Hopefully mitigating as much risk as possible. It’s never going to be a risk-free environment, we know that. That’s the environment we know we’re coming back to play in. So there are risks, every day coming to the park. There are risks for the general population going out and getting groceries and everybody has to make sure they are playing their part in being as safe as possible to protect everybody in the middle of this pandemic."

And then McHugh added the perfect synopsis ...

"It’s going to be like drinking from a firehose for three weeks in this spring training for everybody around baseball," McHugh said. "I’m looking forward to it."