Marcus Semien reached out to general manager David Forst before the A’s started their three-week training camp at Oakland Coliseum.
The shortstop told his GM that he’s going to take a leadership role in making sure A's players are staying as safe as possible during baseball’s return to work.
Semien is a Bay Area native and a full-time resident here. He sees how seriously people are taking the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and wants to make sure the A’s act the same way. It’s not just about keeping 42 finely tuned athletes healthy. It’s about more vulnerable parts of the A’s staff still going about their business.
Forst came away thoroughly impressed. Semien talked about setting a good example, and at times being a traffic cop.
“There are a lot of ways you can do it., especially amongst the group,” Semien said in a Tuesday video conference. “We talked today about it, reminding people that if you see someone not following the protocols, I have no problem reminding someone to put a mask on. It’s not me trying to be a stickler. Everybody understands why it’s important. With the testing system that we have, it’s known that we don’t get results right away. That means you have to do everything you can to be safe at all times.”
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Major League Baseball’s testing system has already caused some hiccups. The A’s full squad couldn’t get on the field Sunday because they’re intake results got delayed over the Fourth of July holiday. They had to wait until Monday night to take the field while results were processed. There were a bunch of elite ball players waiting in the parking lot for the green light to start work
“There was a possibility that we could get sent home if we didn’t get the results in, but we told [A”s manager Bob Melvin] that we would wait to hear what they were,” Semien said. “For everybody who is negative, we were able to get in the building. It was a little later than we wanted to do it, but I’m glad we got the work in last night so we could have a good day today.”
The A’s played a simulated game Tuesday afternoon, and Semien had a groundout, a double off the wall and a single up the middle. It was clear he enjoyed just talking baseball as MLB tries to return to work while trying to keep infections to a minimum.
The game should be the same between the foul lines, though Semien gladly accepts the additional responsibility. He’ll try to match the career-year of 2019 on the field while increasing his leadership role at a time when he needs it most.
“It’s a tough one, and it’s why I’m going to be as safe as I can be. I’m not just going to be thinking about myself,” Semien said. “I’m thinking about teammates, coaches, my family. That’s something that we have to live with off the field anyway. We get to do what we love and go back to work. We’re all in good spirits because of that. The testing thing, I’m hearing it could get better. It’s still early in the process and I knew there would be some hiccups along the way. As long as we can minimize the positive tests, it’ll get better over time.”
Forst is thankful to have someone like that in the clubhouse to make sure everyone’s adhering as closely as possible to the safety protocols.
“Everybody is in this together,” Forst said. “That was something that Marcus relayed to me unsolicited and I really appreciated that, and I trust that he'll lead those conversations with teammates and that we'll have other guys step up and do the same thing."