With all the protocols in place, Stephen Strasburg got a good feel Monday night for what pitching on the road will entail this season during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year's World Series MVP threw five strong innings for Washington in a 4-2 exhibition win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez said the team took five buses for the 45-minute ride to Baltimore so players and staff could space out, with 14 people on each bus.
“It’s pretty intense,” Strasburg said. “You get on the bus and you have to wear a face mask the whole time. Then you get in, and basically they temperature screen you. It’s kind of tough to get a good temperature reading when it’s 100 degrees outside.
"But if you pass that, then you come into the clubhouse and everybody’s kind of sectioned off. So it’s just kind of an adjustment that we have to make. But unfortunately it’s kind of challenging to build team chemistry in an environment like this right now.”
Strasburg looked just fine on the mound, though. The right-hander struck out six, walked none and allowed one earned run.
He said it was “pretty strange” pitching with no fans in the stands.
“It’s just what we’ve got to deal with. I think we’re all competitors here, so the game out on the field doesn’t really change,” Strasburg said.