CINCINNATI — Had Opening Day still been on for March 26, Reds players would be using what would be the final days of Spring Training getting fine-tuned and ready for the regular season.
Of course, that isn’t happening now with the season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
But preparations are continuing despite Cincinnati’s facilities being closed and players dispersed around the country. Reds manager David Bell and the club have remained in regular contact with the players, reminding them to take all precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus among themselves and their families.
“It’s important. We’ve encouraged all of our guys to do that and we're putting that ahead of anything,” Bell said on Friday. “But there are ways and we’ve strategized to make sure they can continue preparing and staying ready and in [injured] guys’ cases, continuing their rehab and staying on track with that. They’ve made so much progress. We don’t want to take any steps back now.”
There’s little to like about there being no baseball right now. However, the delay to the season will help injured players be ready when it's time to ramp up again.
Bell provided some updates on a few players:
Eugenio Suárez – 3B
Suárez, who had right shoulder surgery in late January after a swimming pool accident, is still progressing well. He was poised to make his spring debut in the lineup on March 13, before games were called off.
“He’s feeling great. He’s starting to resume his throwing and fielding and swinging,” Bell said. “He’s kind of been transitioning to where he’s been trying to get. He’s right on track. … We were pretty confident he had a strong chance to be ready for Opening Day. Now he’ll have a lot more time and it’s even more of a strong possibility for sure.”
Nick Senzel – CF
Senzel had already played four games as DH, but none in the outfield, as he was already in the final stages of his rehab from surgery he had in September to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
“With Nick, he's currently completing his rehab exercises every day, he has everything he needs at home,” Bell said. “He'll ease into his throwing program next week.”
Freddy Galvis – SS
Galvis was limited this spring by a left quadriceps strain and a sore shoulder, and Bell spoke with him on Thursday.
“He’s feeling really 100 percent,” Bell said. “He’s running, throwing, swinging, fielding ground balls.”
Josh VanMeter – OF/IF
VanMeter had been dealing with anterior muscle soreness near his left shin. Bell said he was 100 percent and no longer feeling any symptoms.
Travis Jankowski – OF
Out with a strained left hamstring, Jankowski has been continuing his running progression and isn’t expected to be limited once the team resumes workouts.
Joel Kuhnel – RHP
Following his last appearance on March 8, the right-handed reliever felt discomfort in his right shoulder and has continued to rehab.
“Depending on how he's feeling next week will determine whether or not he picks up his throwing program,” Bell said.
Major League Baseball is adhering to the Centers for Disease Control recommendation to halt any gatherings consisting of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The Reds have closed access to their offices for non-essential employees until at least April 13.
That hasn’t stopped Bell from being busy communicating with people via phone, text and email.
“My routine is just like everyone else’s, trying to stay on top of information and trying to take care of family and friends and to do our part to keep everyone as healthy as we can,” Bell said. “There’s been so much work to do as far as just collecting information and communicating within the organization, communicating with the coaches, communicating with the front office and all the players. We’re doing everything we can to stay on top of any information.”