When Max Scherzer had former teammate Bryan Holaday over for dinner at his spring training home in Florida, he thought it was going to be a rare chance for them and their wives to hang out before the season started. Instead, the two families ended up being quarantined together.
Holaday reported to Orioles camp this spring as a non-roster invitee after spending the last two seasons with the Miami Marlins. Originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2010, he’s played 268 games over an eight-year career with four different organizations and hit .241 with 10 home runs.
“He was a catcher who caught me when I was in Detroit and our wives have always been really good friends ever since and we’ve always been good buds as well,” Scherzer said on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant & Danny Show on Thursday. “When we played the Orioles, they came over and hung out with us and the whole virus thing was starting to blow up. So they hunkered down with us and [when] everything was getting shut down we just said, ‘Hey, would you guys stay with us [during] this quarantine?’”
As gyms have closed down and public parks have restricted access, professional athletes around the world have been challenged to stay in shape while their respective sports are on hold. Luckily for Scherzer, he has a major-league catcher in his home who is helping keep his arm fresh for once play does finally resume.
“We’re just training in the mornings, playing catch,” Scherzer said. “If I need to throw a bullpen or two, he’ll catch it. And if he needs me to flip some baseballs to him so he can hit into a net, I’ll do that for him as well. Right now we got a good little thing going. This little family that we have right now taking care of each other, he’s got two kids as well so we have four kids, four dogs so life’s pretty crazy.”
Of course, Holaday is a bit of a journeyman while Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young winner who’s likely headed to Cooperstown once his career wraps up. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy for the star pitcher to set Holaday down during batting practice.
“Because he’s caught me, he knows everything I’m thinking and what I’m trying to do,” Scherzer said. “When we face each other, that’s actually a tough AB because he knows exactly what I’m thinking.”
It’s an unusual scenario for both players. Scherzer, fresh off winning the World Series with Washington last October, is out to prove he’s still the exception to the aging curve. Holaday is hoping to nab a roster spot with an organization that is looking to give anyone with potential an opportunity. By staying together, both Scherzer and Holaday have been able to continue working on their craft and prepare for when the coronavirus pandemic is contained.
“For me to be able to do my job the best I can, I gotta stay on top of my game as best I can,” Scherzer said. “And so whatever I gotta do to train and stay ready for that, my family is behind me, my wife is doing a great job and everything to keep the house in order so that I can continue to train and continue to do everything I can to be the best baseball player I can be.”
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