SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants told reporters today that their workout facility will remain closed for the weekend to undergo a deep cleaning amid the coronavirus outbreak, and plan on re-opening Monday for players' workouts. Major League Baseball also announced players have the green light to head home or stay in their respective spring training cities to continue baseball activities, if they so desire.
Since I wasn’t able to talk to any current Giants players, I reached out to a few former San Francisco fan favorites, who now reside in Arizona. Former Giants and current NBC Sports Bay Area analysts Rich Aurilia and Shawn Estes shared their takes on how they would handle the cancellation of spring training and postponement of the regular season from both a pitching (Estes) and position-player (Aurilia) perspective.
Here’s what they had to say.
"I would treat this as if spring training hadn’t ended. It would be business as usual, with the exception of playing real games against real competition. I would simulate my normal spring training routine as if I were pitching every fifth day and do everything I would normally do in between starts (run, lift, throw bullpen, etc).
"I would simulate game days as close as possible and build up pitch count by throwing to live hitters in the cage or on the field. I would throw 15-20 pitches an inning and try to put myself in real game situations. As soon as I built up to 100 pitches I’d yo-yo between 80 and 100 pitches every fifth day until we resumed.
"It would also be a great opportunity, with the technology and knowledge of the coaching staff, to work on cleaning up mechanics, improve spin on pitches, and study video of opposing hitters you’d most likely face when the season starts. Really, the guys that are able to stay as close to their normal routines as possible and simulate with purpose won’t need but a week or less to be ready for games that matter."
"It’s a situation we haven’t seen before. If I was a current player, the concerns I would have are the close proximity in the clubhouse. Could be anywhere from 50-75 guys in that clubhouse. They’ve taken measures to keep fans at a distance which helps, but I think as far as the illness goes, the proximity and closeness with teammates and players on the other team on a daily basis is what’s on your mind.
"Being a position player and a hitter, I would say this is around the time of spring training you start to feel pretty good about yourself and you’re ready to break camp, so my concern would be the longer you have between facing live pitching, the more your timing is going to be disrupted or it won’t be the same as it was. It’s hard to make any of these decisions to the workout regimens if you don’t know the end line and you don’t know the date of when you’re going to start.
"My assumption would be once MLB decides on a start date, they may even push that back ten days or two weeks so these guys can get more reps in. So my concern would be being stale, my timing not being right. But again, in this day and age with technology and the ability to get into facilities, these guys are going to stay ready. As ready as they can besides facing live game action. It’s something no one has an answer for."