The Orioles were supposed to be in the midst of their opening series of the 2020 season against the Yankees this weekend.
But due to the league’s shutdown because of coronavirus, Camden Yards remained empty on what would have been Opening Day.
Now, the Orioles are stuck with decisions on how to keep their players – notably their pitchers – in form for whenever the season comes back. The problem is, however, that no one knows when baseball will return.
“I think we’ll hopefully have a better idea as we go along,” manager Brandon Hyde said a little over a week ago on a conference call, “But as of right now, it’s a real individualized plan for everybody that our medical team as well as our trainers, strength coaches, pitching coaches, have all gotten together with on conference calls and how we were going to really talk and put these plans in place for our pitchers.”
John Means, who was likely the starter for the season opener against the Yankees, has already kept up with live batting practices.
For a young team like the Orioles, development is paramount. That’s not the easiest thing to work through when there’s not a set end date for baseball’s return.
“But the first thing was to get our pitchers in a healthy place, a safe place, and now we’re talking about what kind of throwing program that they’re going to be on here for a while with an unclear date of when that’s going to end,” Hyde continued.
While the starting rotation, likely, would’ve been a bit older at the outset of the season with Asher Wojciechowski (31), Alex Cobb (32) and Wade LeBlanc (35) all figured to see significant innings, the youth movement of the pitching staff was likely to come later in the season.
Now, there’s a whole lot of uncertainty surrounding a unit that was the league’s worst just a season ago.
“I think it is impactful in that there’s a lot of development to be had by a lot of players, obviously,” Hyde said. “This can cripple the development a little bit in that you want guys to get innings, you want guys to get at-bats, you want the guys to go through full seasons. That’s really important, especially early on in understanding what it takes to live through a full season and to compete for a full season, so that’s going to be cut short. But it’s something that everybody is dealing with.”
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