Red Sox coronavirus conference call: Players given option to leave spring training

Rob Bradford
March 13, 2020 - 5:12 pm
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Speaking on a conference call Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O'Halloran discussed how the organization is proceeding when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic:

- Red Sox players (both in the major league and minor league camps) have been told that they are allowed to leave the team's spring training facility. They are also welcome to remain at the JetBlue Park facility for their workouts while spring training is suspended. 

- Kennedy noted that the current thinking is that games lost on the front-end of the regular season schedule will be made up on the back-end, although that plan will be dependent on how many games are lost.

- In terms of whether or not the players will continue to be paid -- with President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency opening the door for contracts to be put on pause -- Kennedy deferred to the commissioner's office which is currently in talks with the Players' Association.

- When asked about scheduling scenarios both for spring training and regular-season, Kennedy said, "There are a number of plans being drawn up. ... Just about every variety has been discussed."

- Starting Saturday, both JetBlue Park and Fenway Park will undergo a complete cleaning as another deterrent regarding the coronavirus.

- Bloom said there hasn't been a formal directive to freeze rosters. "We are fully prepared that the next several days will include new information," he said. He also noted that there are no plans to adjust roster size upon a return.

- According to Bloom, figuring out how pitchers will be ramping back up upon their return is currently a conundrum. "This is one of the tougher questions every club is going to have to answer because a lot of preparation for the season is usually working backward from a known and defined start date and we don’t have that right now. And even having the tentative date of two weeks into the season with the uncertainty surrounding that you don’t want to hit a full gallop too soon and then have to hold that if the season doesn’t start then. It has been something we have had a lot of conversation about. Dave Bush and our other staff have been communicating with players on this. Given the news today that we know some players may choose to leave that may change the guidance a little bit. It will be different case by case. Certainly starters and multi-inning pitchers it’s a little different from short relievers in term of the time that is required. We’re basically just trying to strike that balance between not letting pitchers getting deconditioned and making sure we’re maintaining some kind of workload. That the ramp-up is not damaging to them. While also making sure we’re not stressing them or overworking them during a time we’re not playing games."