BOSTON – Ron Roenicke is preparing to play baseball this year.
The Boston Red Sox manager admits he has concerns about some options Major League Baseball officials have discussed in order to safely start the season in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But he does believe there will be games.
"If I’m going with my gut, yes, I do,” Roenicke said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.
Roenicke and his coaching staff continue to be in contact with players, who are commencing with conditioning and throwing programs as best they can from where they are.
Baseball’s season had been set to start March 26 but spring training was halted on March 12. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended restricting events of more than 50 people for eight weeks, MLB said it would not open until mid-May at the earliest.
Putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area this season and playing in empty ballparks is one scenario that was discussed last week during a conference call between MLB and the players’ association.
“They’re trying to get us on the field, obviously, as fast as they can," Roenicke said. "But these things are really complicated.”
Logistics aside, the 63-year-old said his bigger concern is what would happen if anyone tested positive once the season restarts.
“That concerns me probably more than anything,” he said. “Yes, we can play in empty stadiums and have them televised and all that. But if we go through this whole thing and we get everybody in shape, and then we have one person on one team test positive, how do we continue on with the league? To me that’s going to be the most difficult thing.”
Also hanging over the Red Sox is the result of MLB’s investigation into allegations they illegally used their video replay room to steal signs between opposing pitchers and catchers during their 2018 World Series championship season.
Alex Cora, who managed that team, was relieved of his position in January after Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was “an active participant” in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal when he was their bench coach in 2017.
The Red Sox haven’t officially been told of when they’d get results of MLB's investigation, but Roenicke hopes its sooner rather than later.
“It would be nice to get that done before we come back again,” he said.
NOTE: Roenicke said he has texted with Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia during the hiatus, but that he isn’t any closer to returning to action from the 2017 knee injury that has limited him to just nine games over the last two seasons. “He’s still not at a point where he’s thinking about trying to be ready to come back and join us,” Roenicke said.
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