PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The return on baseball is on the horizon and the Philadelphia Phillies will resume spring training later this week. On Monday, General Manager Matt Klentak talked about how COVID-19 will affect the team and season.
This week, the Phillies will begin workouts at Citizens Bank Park as part of spring training 2.0.
The last time the team was together in this capacity was March 12 in Clearwater, Florida.
Much has changed since then and Klentak says it been a race to the start.
“News last week kicked off a sprint for a lot of people to get ready for spring training 2.0,” Klentak said Monday. “We’ve identified the staff participating, everyone is in now and have gone through screenings over the weekend – the majority of players arrived yesterday and today.
Klentak also discussed how the coronavirus affected the team and what it means moving forward.
“None of the cases, players or staff have been especially serious. I mean, some of our people have had flu-like symptoms and fevers. They’ve lasted anywhere between a few hours and 24 hours, but nobody has been hospitalized. There has not been any grave concern. It was eye-opening to a lot of us, how quickly it spread,” he said.
Klentak also says there’s been a rush to get ready.
“There have been a lot of people working around the clock to prepare for this. Preparing to have staff travel in, players to travel in. And really get Citizens Bank Park and the neighboring fields in FDR Park ready for MLB,” he said.
On Sunday, the Phillies released their player pool for the upcoming season, with 53 of the 60 roster spots filled. Klentak says nearly everyone is present and accounted for.
“Those players are going through their intake screenings as well, and that includes tests for COVID, antibody tests, and a variety of other things before they’re allowed to take the field,” he said.
Outfielder Andrew McCutchen is one of those players. He’s expected to make his return to the lineup following a torn ACL early in 2019.
“McCutchen as far as we can tell is 100% ready to go. He completed his rehab in Clearwater, he spent most of the few months in Clearwater continuing to rehab,” said Klentak.
While this season will surely look different than any other in the history of Major League Baseball, the Phils’ GM is happy that there will likely be a season starting soon.
“A lot of us were faced with the thought of what would it be like to go an entire summer without baseball. I don’t know about you, but that wasn’t a very appealing thought to me and I imagine it wasn’t for any of you or any of our fans,” Klentak said.
The Phillies’ schedule is slated to begin either July 23 or 24. And while we don’t know who they will open against, we do know they’ll play 40 games against NL East teams and 20 games against AL East teams.