The beach. The seafood. The weather. The Wawa on the corner of Belcher and Gulf-to-Bay.
Spending a month in Clearwater, Florida isn’t such a bad thing.
Unless you can’t leave your hotel room.
Such was the plight of Phillies pitcher Ranger Suarez earlier this summer. He tested positive for COVID-19 while working out at the Phillies’ complex during the shutdown. Except for a little dizziness that lasted just a few days, he never felt sick. But he could not put together two negative COVID tests and therefore remained quarantined, in his hotel room, for a month.
“It was definitely frustrating,” Suarez said Tuesday through Diego Ettedgui, the Phillies Spanish-language translator. “But it wasn’t something I could control. At the end of the day, there was nothing I could do except follow the advice I was given and that’s it.
“The most frustrating part was I felt pretty good, but I couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t allowed to leave my room, wasn’t allowed to work out."
Suarez said he spent the whole month in his room. His COVID tests were dropped off by team personnel. He ordered meals on an app on his phone. He spoke to his family back home in Venezuela regularly on FaceTime.
“I tried to stay busy so I wouldn’t go crazy,” he said. “I played video games on PlayStation.”
Suarez ended up not throwing for a month. That was frustrating because he made an excellent showing in spring training but could not continue it when baseball restarted in late June. He only recently completed his throwing and conditioning program and was activated by the Phillies on Monday.
Suarez, 25, was groomed in the minor leagues as a starter, but he turned out to be a find in the Phillies’ bullpen last year. The lefty went 6-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 37 games. He hopes to start again one day, but for now is content helping any way he can. He got up to 40 pitches in his last outing at the Lehigh Valley satellite camp and could give manager Joe Girardi multiple innings out of the ‘pen if need be.
Whatever the role is, Suarez is just happy to be out of that hotel room and playing ball again.