Drayer: Mariners close Peoria complex, players now in ‘offseason mode’
After a few days of seeing the player turnout dwindle and more importantly, the situation with the coronavirus outbreak escalate, the Mariners have made the decision to shut down their spring training complex in Peoria.
Players had been coming in and working out in groups of 10, but a positive test with a Cincinnati Reds spring training worker made the decision that much easier for Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto.
“Our primary concern isn’t really preparing for a baseball season, it’s making sure we stay as healthy as we can and that we are doing our part in a public health crisis to not spread this thing,” Dipoto said on a conference call.
On Monday, there were 28 players who came in for a workout. On Wednesday, 10-12 showed up. All players have been told to go where they feel safest health-wise. To that end, Dipoto said that no Mariners player has shown the symptoms of coronavirus and that their trainers and medical teams will check in with them on a daily basis to further monitor.
As for what players will do in terms of workouts or conditioning, the players have been told to go into offseason mode with the strength coaches giving them resistance band plans they can do at home as well as what Dipoto called a “very moderate throwing program.”
“We’ve told our guys what we need you to go into offseason mode psychologically, emotionally and understand that what ever time we get back to playing, we will have time to ramp back up. We are not going to ask guys to go zero to 60 too quick.”
It is expected that a preparation of two to three weeks would be given before any sort of restart. After that, Dipoto said they would get creative in taking care of the pitching.
“We don’t know what that looks like right now other than discussion,” he said. “It could be anything from 3-inning starts to a 10-man rotation to make sure we are properly taking care of the future health of the pitchers.”
In addition to the Peoria complex, the Dominican academy is closed as well, but that is normal for this time of year. Dipoto said that baseball has been advised not to open their Dominican facilities at this time. The situation has stranded six young Venezuelan players in Arizona. They will be housed, fed and generally cared for by the Mariners.
“That’s as safe as we can keep them right now,” said Dipoto. “They will have this group of Arizona-based employees with the Mariners to look over them from day-to-day which is the best position we can keep them in.”
As for Dipoto, he is on his way back to Seattle.
“Like many others in Seattle, we will be working from home until this is resolved,” he said.
What’s next remains to be seen.
“A lot of guys have made their way back to their natural homes and we have told them to view this as something where you feel comfortable the next two months,” he said. “We have told them that we don’t know where this could go, we told them we may be able to adjust up or we may be forced to adjust down in terms of our expectations. Right now our only concern here is health and well-being throughout. It is a strange time in the world for everybody, we are just trying to make the right decisions to keep everybody in a safe place.”