BOSTON (CBS) –A handful of MLB players are opting out of the abbreviated 2020 season, deciding to stay home as the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. With workouts set to begin at Fenway Park on Friday, the Red Sox aren’t expecting any players to sit this season out.
Boston skipper Ron Roenicke, in his first season as manager in place of Alex Cora, said he’s expecting perfect attendance at Fenway Park when players report for duty on Wednesday.
“I don’t know any of our guys who are on the fence about playing. They’ve told me that they’re ready to go,” Roenicke told reporters on Monday. “Is there a couple guys that are concerned? Yeah, there is. But as far as I know — what they’ve told me from today, yesterday, the day before — I expect everybody to come in.”
Reporting for duty for “summer camp” — essentially a three-week spring training in the summer — will be much different than reporting to Fort Myers though. Players will spend much of the day Wednesday getting tested for COVID-19 and going over health protocols.
While Roenicke expects to have everyone on hand Wednesday, a few positive tests could lead to slimmer workout groups by Friday.
“I hope we have everybody,” he said. “Hopefully these tests get back and they’re all clean.”
So far, Arizona pitcher Mike Leake, Colorado outfielder Ian Desmond and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have opted to sit out the 2020 season, citing concerns about COVID-19. The Minnesota Twins have also asked a pair of coaches in their 60s to sit out.
A dugout may not be the safest place for the 63-year-old, but he’s confident that his good health and the measure that the Red Sox have in place will keep him safe.
“I don’t feel a lot of concern about myself. Just talking to [trainer] Brad Pearson and talking to [medical director] Dr. [Larry] Ronan, it’s just about being smart about what I do. I’m really not that concerned,” he said. “I still don’t feel I’m old, I guess. I feel good health-wise. My doctors all say I’m healthy. I feel good that way. Obviously, it’s a concern because you don’t know how it affects different people.
“Whether you’re 20 years old or whether you’re 63 as I am, you still have to be concerned about trying to stay away from it,” he continued. “We’re doing as much as we can, and like I said, we’ve put [protocols] into place here; I don’t think it’s a whole lot different than when I was home and just having to go out to the grocery store and the different things I did there. So, hopefully we can stay as clean as possible. We know it’s there. We know players are going to get it.”