CLEVELAND, Ohio – Chris Antonetti is concerned as the Indians leave for spring training at the Arizona coronavirus hatchery.
“I’m worried,” said Antonetti, president of baseball operations. “One of our organizational priorities from the start, even before we knew what the pandemic would look like, was to continue prioritizing the health, safety and wellbeing of our players and employees.
“It is worrying that we are going to an area in Arizona that has one of the highest rates of infection in the country.”
Throwers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona on February 17 and train the next day. Position players report on February 21 with the first full squad training on February 22. The spring season begins on February 28th when the Indians play against Cincinnati at the Goodyear Ballpark.
“I am confident that the protocols we have will help mitigate some of these risks and keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible,” said Antonetti. “But it’s a problem.”
Antonetti said the Indians gave all staff the option to decline spring training if they were not comfortable. He said no one had unsubscribed to this day.
Regarding the coronavirus vaccine, Antonetti said that some members of the organization, based on age or other criteria, would be eligible to receive the vaccine before reporting to the camp. He added, “But I don’t expect the vast majority of our group to be vaccinated in the near future. We will wait in line in the right place and when it is our turn we will be vaccinated. “
The Indians mastered the 60-game sprint last season without losing a game to the coronavirus.
What about Franmil Reyes and the first base?
Does that mean DH Franmil Reyes will still have a look inside after the Indians officially admitted Eddie Rosario to the outfield on Thursday?
“The more versatile Franmil is, the more options he can create for Tito to move him beyond DH. This is a net plus,” said Antonetti. “If that is capable of playing on the field in a National League city, then that’s great. If there is more, even better. “
Regarding the competition for first base, Antonetti said the main actors will be Jake Bauers, Bobby Bradley and Josh Naylor. Regarding Naylor, Antonetti said he could become a first-based factor “based on how the outfield shook off”.
Crowd management in the outfield
The Indians have eight outfielders on the 40-man squad. In case you forget their names, here’s a refresher course: Bauers, Daniel Johnson, Jordan Luplow, Oscar Mercado, Naylor, Reyes, Rosario and Bradley Zimmer. Antonetti was asked if it would be difficult to give every player a chance to be judged fairly.
“First and foremost, I hope we can play games to make some of these assessments in spring training and during the season,” said Antonetti. “The lack of a minor league season last year was really a challenge for us as we lost those development iterations and opportunities to see how these guys played in Triple-A. Hopefully this year we’ll have the chance to see these guys play in the major and minor leagues. “
Bauers and Rosario are the only outfielder who run out of options.
“We have some flexibility with this group,” said Antonetti. “We can compete in spring training but if we make a number of decisions we can hopefully let the other guys play at Triple-A. If we have to adapt, we can adapt at that point. “
New Indian face masks for sale: Here, you can purchase Cleveland Indian-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB proceeds are donated to charity.
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